DAT Solutions: After Harvey, truckers rush to help as TL capacity tightens

Special to Land Line | 9/6/2017

The availability of spot truckload freight on DAT MembersEdge increased 2.9 percent while available capacity fell 4.3 percent during the week ending Sept. 2, the first full week after Hurricane Harvey made landfall. National average rates rose compared to the previous week:

  • Van: $1.90/mile, up 12 cents
  • Flatbed: $2.20/mile, up 2 cents
  • Reefer: $2.10/mile, up 3 cents

Rates push higher: These rates include a fuel surcharge but not accessorial fees that compensate the carrier for loading, unloading, layovers and detention, all of which have likely risen significantly for trucks carrying relief supplies. The rearrangement of supply chains, the difficulty of shipping in the flooded region, and a tightening spot market pushed rates higher on 78 of the top 100 van lanes in the country.

Posts increase: Nationally, van load posts increased 4 percent and truck posts declined 5 percent compared to the previous week, to yield a 9 percent increase in the load-to-truck ratio, from 5.2 to 5.6 loads per truck. Reefer load posts increased 11 percent and truck posts declined 4 percent, which resulted in a 16 percent increase in the load-to-truck ratio, to 11.6 loads per truck. Flatbed load posts fell 4 percent while truck posts dipped 4 percent. That caused the load-to-truck ratio to increase one-half percent, to 26.7 loads per truck.

Harvey update: The number of available outbound loads from Houston plunged 72 percent compared to the previous week, when the storm came ashore late on Friday, Aug. 25. Despite the loss of volume, the average outbound spot van rate from Houston increased 20 percent to $2.03/mile.

Houston outbound: Lanes with significant rate changes during the week ending Sept. 2 (average spot rate):

  • Houston to New Orleans: $3.21/mile, up 89 cents. Volume on this lane was down 80 percent.
  • Houston to Dallas: $2.57/mile, up 46 cents. Volume was down 65 percent.
  • Houston to Laredo: $1.76/mile, up 26 cents.
  • Houston to Oklahoma City: $2.19/mile, up 24 cents.

Houston inbound: Lanes with significant rate changes during the same period:

  • Dallas to Houston: $4.00/mile, up $1.60. DAT has never reported anything close to $4/mile on this lane before.
  • Denver to Houston, $1.63/mile, up 59 cents. This is the largest-ever weekly jump on a Denver lane.

FEMA staging: The Federal Emergency Management Agency and other organizations are gathering emergency supplies in warehouses and distribution centers on the outskirts of San Antonio; Dallas; Austin, Texas; Lafayette, La.; and other metro areas, until trucks can enter the storm zone. Many of these emergency relief loads are being handled by freight brokers and 3PLs who are making the loads available on MembersEdge. Rates increased significantly on many lanes heading to those destinations.

Stay safe: Harvey reinforced how truckers are invaluable to relief efforts. With Hurricane Irma threatening Florida and the Gulf of Mexico, please stay safe out there.

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/industry-trends/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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