DAT Solutions: On the spot market, spring is producing

Special to Land Line | 4/12/2017

The overall number of available loads on DAT MembersEdge slipped 2 percent during the first week of April – normal compared to the last week of March, when shippers are rushing to move freight before closing their books on Q1.

Still, national average spot rates for all three equipment types were up during the week ending April 8:

  • Vans: $1.69/mile, up 6 cents
  • Reefers: $1.93/mile, up 6 cents
  • Flatbeds: $2.07/mile, up 4 cents

Diesel rose another 2 cents to a national average of $2.58/gallon.

Reefer, van volumes slip: The number of reefer load posts was virtually unchanged compared to the previous week while reefer truck posts fell 1 percent. The reefer load-to-truck ratio gained a percentage point to 6.8 loads per truck. A 6 percent drop in van load posts contributed to an 8 percent dip in the van ratio, which hit 3.4 loads per truck.

Flatbeds in demand: Flatbeds continue to be in high demand although the load-to-truck ratio dipped slightly last week. Flatbed load posts held steady and truck posts increased 4 percent, which sent the flatbed load-to-truck ratio down 4 percent to 39.1.

Here’s what’s driving trends on DAT MembersEdge in key markets:

Atlanta: About that collapsed interstate … Van load counts in Atlanta rose and the average outbound rate gained 2 cents to $1.94/mile last week. Rates increased on major inbound lanes, unusual for this time of year. Memphis-Atlanta paid 13 cents better at an average of $2.23/mile compared to last week.

Charlotte: Freight volumes and rates slipped in Charlotte, which lost fruit in a mid-March freeze. That seemed to have a spillover effect into van capacity: Charlotte van rates dropped 3 cents to $1.89/mile.

Lakeland, Fla.: Produce is picking up momentum as the average outbound reefer rate from Lakeland gained 9 cents to $1.48/mile. Still low for the Southeast but a good harbinger for the rest of the month.

Nogales, Ariz.: We expect reefer load counts to pick up here and in border markets as avocados ship ahead of Cinco de Mayo. At $2.04/mile, McAllen, Texas, was unchanged compared to the previous week. Shipments out of the Santa Maria District pushed rates up out of the Fresno market, while Los Angeles reefer freight averaged $2.34/mile, up 7 cents.

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 or tune in to Land Line Now. You can get all of the latest rate information at DAT.com/Trendlines, comment on the DAT Freight Talk blog, or join us on Facebook. On Twitter you can tweet your questions to us @LoadBoards and have your questions answered by DAT Industry Analyst Mark Montague.

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