DAT SOLUTIONS: Spot van, reefer rates stabilize as load posts rise

Special to Land Line | 10/3/2018

The effects of Hurricane Florence can still be felt regionally, but national spot truckload freight availability and rates continued to stabilize last week. The number of available loads on DAT MembersEdge increased 2 percent while truck posts fell 2 percent, and national average spot rates were steady.

  • Van: $2.15 per mile, unchanged from the previous week.
  • Flatbed: $2.56 per mile, also unchanged.
  • Reefer: $2.52 per mile, down 1 cent.

Let’s look at the Trendlines.

Van rates chart from DATSigns of strength
Last week’s van rate is 2 cents higher and the reefer rate is 3 cents higher compared to August averages. However, the flatbed rate is 8 cents lower compared to August.

Loading up
The number of van load posts increased 4 percent and truck posts declined 3 percent last week, which pushed the national van load-to-truck ratio up 7 percent to 7.3 van loads per truck.

Still making waves
The biggest week-over-week van rate declines were on lanes that spiked before Hurricane Florence making landfall.

  • Buffalo to Charlotte was down 24 cents at $2.44 per mile.
  • Atlanta to Charlotte fell 17 cents to $2.84 per mile.
  • Allentown to Richmond, Va., was down 20 cents at $2.88 per mile.

Those lane rates are still higher than they were before the storm.

Midwestern swing
Pricing out of the Midwest is still strong. The average van rate out of Columbus, Ohio, jumped 10 cents to $2.70 per mile last week, and Chicago picked up 5 cents to $2.66 per mile.

Reefer rebound
Reefer volumes bounced back last week, thanks mostly to load counts out of the Midwest and, to a lesser degree, California. Reefer load posts increased 3 percent while truck posts declined 2 percent. The reefer load-to-truck ratio was up 5 percent to 8.4 loads per truck.

Balancing act
Spot rates were higher on 35 of our top 72 reefer lanes, with 32 lanes falling and four remaining neutral. Several significant lanes were higher, including Grand Rapids, Mich., to Philadelphia ($4.15 per mile, up 13 cents) and Atlanta to Lakeland, Fla. ($3.43 per mile, up 8 cents).

Ready to rise?
The national load-to-truck ratio for spot flatbed freight was unchanged at 25.9, with load posts and truck posts both down 1 percent compared to the previous week. That could change as rebuilding efforts continue in the Carolinas.

Pumped up diesel prices
The national average price of on-highway diesel jumped 4 cents to $3.31 per gallon. Because spot rates include a portion for a fuel surcharge, a change in fuel prices can affect rates. 

Lessons learned
Unlike with Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the impact from Florence on freight movements wasn’t a cascading effect across the supply chain.

For one, there was plenty of warning ahead of the storm. Carriers moved their operations inland, which kept trucks available.

Second, the area affected didn’t require the massive rerouting of supply chains like what we saw last year. Expect trends to resume to normal, climbing slowly and steadily from the late summer declines.

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 the MyMembersEdge.com load board or tune in to Land Line Now. You can get all of the latest rate information at dat.com per industry-trends per 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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