DAT Solutions: Rates, freight tapering off

Special to Land Line | 1/26/2017

It's typical for load counts to start tapering off in the third week of January, and that’s what happened last week.

The number of loads on the MembersEdge network fell 14 percent during the week ending Jan. 21, while available capacity increased 13 percent.

Fewer loads and more trucks put a damper on load-to-truck ratios and rates, especially for reefers and vans. Let’s take a closer look:

Reefers chill: After six months of gains, the reefer load-to-truck ratio continued to decline in January, down to 6.7 loads per truck. There was an 18 percent decline in reefer load posts and 12 percent fall in the number of posted trucks last week.

Rates dip: The average reefer rate fell 2 cents to $1.98/mile last week. The van rate also edged down 2 cents to $1.70/mile.

Fuel falls: At $2.59/gallon, the average price of on-highway diesel fell 2 cents.

Texas, California surge: There was a bump in reefer activity out of Dallas and McAllen, Texas, and California in particular is more active after a period of heavy snow and rain. Volumes are still light out of central Florida, since the main crop harvests for this season haven’t started, but the backhaul lane from Lakeland-Charlotte recovered 25 cents to $1.46/mile on average. Those beer coolers for the Super Bowl in Houston must be full, because reefer rates from Denver-Houston were down 28 cents to a more typical $1.68/mile.

Van trends: The number of available vans increased 14 percent last week while load posts were down 16 percent. The van load-to-truck ratio fell a full point from 3.9 to 2.9 loads per truck.

Outbound and down: The holiday retail season has fully receded as spot van rates continue to soften in key markets:

  • Los Angeles, $1.95/mile, down 5 cents
  • Chicago, $2.06/mile, down 5 cents
  • Dallas, $1.54/mile, down 2 cents
  • Atlanta, $1.88/mile, down 2 cents
  • Philadelphia, $1.70/mile, down 5 cents

Few lanes paid better last week, though backhaul lanes held firm. Some lanes rebounded from large drops in previous weeks. Among them:

  • Chicago-Buffalo paid an average of $2.41/mile, 12 cents better
  • Buffalo-Charlotte was up 9 cents to $1.75/mile

About those flats: Flatbed demand fell as load posts declined 10 percent and truck posts increase 12 percent. That sent the load-to-truck ratio down from 27.1 to 21.8 loads per truck.

Rates are derived from DAT RateView, which provides real-time reports on prevailing spot market and contract rates, as well as historical rate and capacity trends. All reported rates include fuel surcharges.

For the latest spot market load availability and rate information, visit OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com load board, tune in to Land Line Now, and join the conversation on Twitter with @LoadBoards.

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