DAT Solutions: Trucks wanted, rates up as capacity tightens

Special to Land Line | 9/22/2017

Relief efforts continue in Florida, and our hearts go out to everyone recovering from a devastating hurricane season. After Hurricane Irma, we’ve seen a big increase in van freight moving from Atlanta and Charlotte down into the state. Some of that is relief freight, and some is the result of pent-up demand from shipments that were delayed by the storm.

Load counts out of Dallas and Houston also climbed, as Texas works its way back to business as usual.

Overall, the number of available loads on DAT MembersEdge jumped 27 percent during the week ending Sept. 16—not out of line when you’re comparing a full workweek to one shortened by a holiday.

But the number of trucks posted rose just 19 percent at a time when capacity is already tight. Here are the trends:

Rates are up: National average spot truckload rates didn’t change much but remain at two-year highs:

  • Van: $1.93/mile, unchanged
  • Flatbed: $2.24/mile, unchanged 
  • Reefer: $2.18/mile, up 1 cent

Trucks wanted: Load-to-truck ratios were elevated:

  • Van L/T ratio: 6.6
  • Flatbed L/T ratio: 41.1
  • Reefer L/T ratio: 11.9

Diesel dips: Diesel took a 1-cent step back to a national average of $2.79/gallon.

More freight to move: Nationally, van load posts and truck posts each increased 20 percent, while reefer load posts were up 18 percent and truck posts gained 12 percent, partially because of comparing a five-day workweek to a four-day workweek.

Flats get a bump: The big increases were in the flatbed segment, where load posts increased 41 percent and truck posts increased 19 percent. The 41.1 flatbed loads-per-truck ratio is the highest since peak season in April.

Florida volumes higher: Regionally, supply chains were still adjusting to the aftermath of two major storms. Freight volumes into Florida increased on lanes from Atlanta and Charlotte, as did average van rates:

  • Atlanta-Lakeland, up 70 cents to $3.65/mile
  • Atlanta-Miami, up 54 cents to $3.19/mile
  • Charlotte-Lakeland, up 42 cents to $3.32/mile

Reefers rise, too: The spot reefer market for Florida freight reflected similar trends: Atlanta-Miami, for instance, jumped 68 cents to $3.34/mile last week, and Atlanta-Lakeland added 52 cents at $3.89/mile.

Midwest hubs are busy: Chicago and Columbus, Ohio, outbound van rates have risen 14 percent and 15 percent in the past month, since the Midwest hubs have been in position to facilitate rerouted freight from both Harvey and Irma.

Most lanes see higher rates: Rates fell on 35 of the top 100 van lanes, mostly in Texas where pricing continues to normalize after hitting historic highs following Hurricane Harvey. Dallas-Houston fell 54 cents last week but is still high at $2.96/mile.

Word from the wise: If you’re taking freight into Florida, it’s harder than usual to find loads out. Stay safe, and please check the dat.com/blog for updates.

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.