DAT Solutions: The more things change…

Special to Land Line | Thursday, April 27, 2017

When you look at the rates for van, reefer and flatbed freight, they may look like more of the same: national average spot truckload rates on DAT MembersEdge were unchanged during the week ending April 22.

But the number of available loads jumped 10 percent compared to the previous week and capacity tightened 1.5 percent.

If you’re a trucker, more loads are good news. Indeed, load-to-truck ratios gained for all three equipment types:

Van ratio: 3.6 loads per truck, up 11 percent
Reefer ratio: 6.7, up 2 percent
Flatbed ratio: 47.8, up 20 percent

So while national average rates stayed the same week over week, in many major markets they’re on a slow springtime climb. Let’s look at the trends:

Vans get stronger: The national average van rate was unchanged at $1.68/mile. Lanes with rising rates continue to outnumber falling lanes on a week-to-week basis but not enough to bump up the national average.

Southern cooking: The top five markets for van load posts were all in the South:

Atlanta, $1.94/mile, up 2 cents
Charlotte, $1.91/mile, down 1 cent
Houston, $1.66/mile, down 1 cent
Dallas, $1.64/mile, up 5 cents
Memphis, $1.95/mile, unchanged

Rate-toppers: The average rate on these van lanes hit their highest rates in the last six weeks:

Philadelphia-Boston jumped up 27 cents to $3.34/mile
Memphis-Columbus hit $1.89/mile, up 14 cents
Dallas-Denver rose 11 cents to $1.94/mile
Stockton-Seattle added 15 cents for $2.18/mile

Speed bumps: Buffalo and Denver are the only van markets where outbound rates are down more than 1 percent for the month.

Flatbed L/T ratio peaks: The flatbed load-to-truck ratio jumped 20 percent to 47.8 loads per truck last week. That’s the highest weekly flatbed load-to-truck ratio in years. Flatbed load posts increased 14 percent while truck posts declined 5 percent. The national average flatbed rate was, you guessed it, unchanged at $2.07/mile.

Reefer rates hold: The national average reefer rate was unchanged at $1.94/mile. The largest drop last week was on the lane from Chicago-Philadelphia, which fell 23 cents to $2.37/mile.

Florida falling: Last week reefer load posts held steady while truck posts declined 2 percent. One market where freight patterns are shifting: Florida. Volumes were down and wildfires and evacuations made it more expensive to move freight:

Miami-Boston reefer rates were up 23 cents to $2.14/mile
Lakeland, Fla.-Baltimore climbed 26 cents to $2.00/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 go to 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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