DAT Solutions: As demand tapers, spot rates stay strong on DAT MembersEdge

Special to Land Line | 7/26/2017

Spot load posts typically fall off this time of year but the number of available loads on DAT MembersEdge slipped just 3 percent during the week ending July 22. The number of truck posts was up 2 percent as demand for capacity stayed solid and prices remained high.

Load-to-truck ratios for all three major freight segments fell 5 percent compared to the previous week. The van load/truck ratio was 4.8; flatbeds 36.1; and reefers 8.5.

Rate redux: National average spot rates were lower week over week but van and flatbed rates were still above June averages:

  • Van: $1.81/mile, down 2 cents
  • Flatbed: $2.18/mile, down 2 cents
  • Reefer: $2.09/mile, down 3 cents

Diesel up: The average on-highway diesel price climbed another 2 cents to a national average of $2.51/gallon.

Van posts dip: The number of van load posts declined 1 percent while posted capacity increased 2 percent nationally last week.

Rates slip, too: Van rates on most of the top 100 van lanes were down, typical for mid to late July. Still, we’re coming off of some of the highest prices we’ve seen in years. A little perspective is in order.

No-No-Northeast: Van lanes into Northeast were down:

  • Columbus-Buffalo fell 21 cents to $2.62/mile
  • Chicago-Allentown, Pa., dropped 17 cents to $2.36/mile
  • Regionally, Philadelphia-Boston declined 24 cents to $3.35/mile

Our 2 cents: Denver had the biggest increase in outbound van rates—2 cents. Van loads paid $1.10/mile on average and rarely ever pay well so you have to make your money on the inbound trip. Other van markets trended lower:

  • Los Angeles: $2.18/mile, down 5 cents
  • Columbus: $2.01/mile, down 5 cents
  • Chicago: $2.07/mile, down 2 cents
  • Dallas: $1.73/mile, down 5 cents
  • Houston: $1.80/mile, down 5 cents
  • Atlanta: $2.12/mile, down 7 cents

Flats edge down: Flatbed load posts declined 1 percent last week while truck posts increased 4 percent.

Reefer trends: The spot reefer market mirrored vans, as load posts decreased 6 percent while truck posts were up 11 percent. There were some bright spots however, including a boost in activity and rates out of the Midwest as fruit and vegetable harvests start to come in. Lanes with gains:

  • Green Bay-Minneapolis spiked 57 cents to $3.12/mile
  • Grand Rapids-Atlanta jumped up 27 cents to $2.47/mile
  • Chicago-Philadelphia gained 22 cents to $2.78/mile

Florida falling: Florida lanes continued to slide. Lakeland-Charlotte was down 28 cents to just $1.13/mile, which is about as low as that lane has been in a year. Miami-Northern New Jersey dropped 32 cents to $1.58/mile.

MembersEdge tri-haul of the week:

Charlotte has some of the best outbound rates in the country but inbound rates on some lanes are pretty low. For example, Charlotte-Philadelphia averaged $2.75/mile last week but the backhaul fetched $1.35/mile.

Instead of heading straight back to Charlotte, make an extra drop and pick in Norfolk, Va.: Philly-Norfolk paid $2.30/mile on average last week, and Norfolk-Charlotte averaged $2.53/mile. Altogether, the tri-haul would boost your average rate per loaded mile from $2.05 to $2.53 and add just under 100 miles, not counting deadhead, to your total trip. If you can fit it into your hours, it works out to an extra 700 bucks.

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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