DAT Solutions: Back(haul) to work

Special to Land Line | 4/20/2017

Spot market volumes usually dip in the week before Easter, as shippers close early on Good Friday and truck drivers book loads home for the holiday.

That combination – a little less freight to haul, a little more motivation on the part of trucker – tends to tamp down rates on the spot market.

Still, the 2.4 percent drop in load counts during the week ending April 15 wasn’t as steep as expected. And rates on DAT MembersEdge, for the most part, stayed firm. The national average spot van rate fell 1 cent to $1.68/mile; the flatbed rate was unchanged at $2.07/mile, while agricultural markets pushed the reefer rate up 1 cent to $1.94/mile.

With 8 percent fewer van load posts last week, the national average van load-to-truck ratio dipped from 3.4 to 3.2 loads per truck. The flatbed ratio increased slightly to 39.7 loads per truck but remains strong, while a 2 percent decline in volume caused the reefer ratio to slip 4 percent to 6.6 loads per truck.

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

California and Southwest: Lettuce, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower—they’re all shipping now, with strawberries coming out of Oxnard and the Santa Maria districts. And with Cinco de Mayo around the corner, more avocados are crossing the border at Nogales, Ariz. (where the average reefer rate jumped 14 cents a mile). Out of Los Angeles, the average reefer rate jumped 5 cents to $2.39/mile; the van rate was unchanged at $1.90/mile.

Atlanta: Volumes declined and the average spot rate dropped 2 cents to $1.92/mile but Atlanta was still the top van market last week. Memphis-Atlanta, a big inbound lane, fell 17 cents to an average of $2.07/mile, giving back a 13-cent gain from the previous week and then some.

Columbus, Ohio: Columbus, a jumping off point for van freight moving into the Northeast, saw the average outbound van rate decline 3 cents to $1.89/mile. Rates also fell in Buffalo and Philadelphia, signaling slower traffic into the region.

Florida: It’s coming on strong with sweet corn, potatoes, mixed veggies and melons. Key reefer lanes surged:

  • Lakeland-Charlotte: $2.06/mile, up 49 cents
  • Lakeland-Atlanta: $1.65/mile, up 22 cents
  • Miami-Baltimore: $2.15/mile, up 39 cents

Grand Rapids, Mich.: Reduced shipments of fresh eggs and stored apples dragged down reefer rates last week. On average, Grand Rapids fell 3 cents to $2.67/mile, and two key lanes took a hit: Grand Rapids-Madison tumbled 32 cents to $2.01/mile while Grand Rapids-Cleveland skidded 10 cents to $3.18/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 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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