DAT Solutions: Southern states are red hot

Special to Land Line | 6/28/2017

A little rough weather in the South wasn’t enough to wash away gains in the spot truckload market.

The number of posted loads on MembersEdge picked up 2.5 percent while truck posts dipped 1.2 percent during the week ending June 24. Severe weather disrupted freight movement in the Southern U.S. but load-to-truck ratios were solid as shippers prepared for both the end of a quarter and the last full week before the July 4 holiday:

  • Van ratio: 5.5 loads per truck, up 6 percent
  • Reefer ratio: 10.4, up 14 percent
  • Flatbed ratio: 41.8, down 6 percent

Rates remain in great shape even though surcharges are sliding a bit. On-highway diesel fell 2 cents more to a national average of $2.47/gallon.

Van trends
Nationally, the number of posted van loads jumped 5 percent while truck posts fell 1 percent. The average van rate was unchanged for the second straight week at $1.79/mile. That’s still a full 10 cents higher than the average for May.

Rates rose in 76 of the top 100 van lanes. Lanes with gains:

  • There was a 30-cent raise from Atlanta-Columbus to $2.20/mile 
  • Atlanta-Philadelphia got a 22-cent boost to $2.78/mile
  • Charlotte-Allentown gained 24 cents to $2.83/mile 
  • Memphis-Indianapolis moved up 17 cents to $2.32/mile 

Several outbound markets are trending in the right way for truckers:

Atlanta: Major markets in the Southeast saw a surge in rates last week and van freight from Atlanta is drawing the nation’s highest outbound average spot rate at $2.29/mile, up 10 cents compared to the previous week.

Chicago: Average outbound rates from Chicago added 4 cents to an average of $2.08/mile. Chicago-Los Angeles rose 22 cents to $1.31/mile, a surprise given how the lane is so rail-competitive.

St. Louis and Laredo, Texas, were hot, too, with thousands of daily load posts and a shortage of available trucks for all trailer types.

Reefer trends
Reefer load posts increased 10 percent while truck posts fell 4 percent. The national average rate was up a penny to $2.12/mile, and rates rose on 41 of the top 72 reefer lanes compared to only 27 in the previous week.

Atlanta was a hot market for reefers as well as vans last week thanks to all the seasonal produce leaving refrigerated warehouses and food processing plants (much of that produce originates in the Tifton and Macon markets in southern Georgia and is distributed out of Atlanta). The average outbound rate was $2.50/mile, up 5 cents. Atlanta-Chicago was up 39 cents to $2.15/mile.

Flatbed trends
The flatbed load-to-truck ratio receded again. Flatbed load posts fell 3 percent while truck posts increased 3 percent. At $2.15/mile, the national average flatbed rate fell 1 cent compared to the previous week.

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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