DAT Solutions: Spot TL freight strong but trending lower

Special to Land Line | 2/2/2017

December was arguably the strongest month for truckload freight in 2016. So even though volume on the MembersEdge load board was down 12 percent during the last full week of the month, and average van and reefer rates took a dip, the market is generally stronger than usual for this time of year. Let’s take a closer look at trends for the week ending Jan. 28:

Van trends: Van load posts were 9 percent lower last week and truck posts increased 4 percent, which sent the van load-to-truck ratio down 13 percent to 2.5 loads per truck. The national average van rate edged down 1 cent to $1.69/mile

Less urgency: Compared to December, the combination of more capacity and less urgency in the supply chain in January pushed van rates lower on high-traffic lanes:

  • Los Angeles, $1.95/mile, down 3 cents
  • Chicago, $2.01/mile, down 6 cents
  • Atlanta, $1.88/mile, down 1 cent
  • Buffalo, $1.94/mile, down 3 cents
  • Dallas, $1.51/mile, down 4 cents

Basically every major van market was down but again, it’s not out of the ordinary for this time of year.

Super, Houston: At $1.54/mile, Houston was one of the few major van markets where prices did not decline last week. Several outbound lanes from Dallas failed to keep pace, though:

  • Dallas-Chicago paid an average of $1.13/mile, a penny lower
  • Dallas-Houston dropped 6 cents to $2.09/mile

Reefer wrap-up: While volumes actually improved on the top 72 lanes for refrigerated freight, the reefer load-to-truck ratio fell a full 20 percent to 5.3 nationally. The number of posted reefer loads was down 14 percent and capacity rose 8 percent. The average reefer rate lost 1 cent to $1.97/mile.

Swings, misses: No single market or region is driving produce freight right now. One place where volumes are shifting: the Midwest. The average rate from Grand Rapids-Madison, Wis., rose 31 cents to $2.71/mile, while Green Bay-Des Moines paid 13 cents better at $2.20/mile. Green Bay and Grand Rapids also had two of the biggest declines last week. Green Bay-Joliet, Ill., was down 31 cents to $2.92/mile; Grand Rapids-Atlanta fell 25 cents to an average of $2.12/mile.

Flatbeds post lower: Flatbed load posts declined 15 percent and truck posts rose 3 percent. That sent the load-to-truck ratio down from 17 percent to 18.1 loads per truck. The national average spot rate added a penny to $1.91/mile.

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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