Spot Rates Dip, Demand and Capacity Remain Elevated

October 23, 2013

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While national average rates for vans and refrigerated rates dipped slightly, spot market capacity and demand on the DAT network of load boards remained seasonally elevated during the week ending Oct. 19, compared to the previous seven days.

The chart depicts national average spot market (“broker buy”) rates during the past four weeks. Rates are derived from DAT RateView and the DAT network of load boards.
The chart depicts national average spot market (“broker buy”) rates during the past four weeks. Rates are derived from DAT RateView and the DAT network of load boards.

The national average rate for van freight fell 3 cents to $1.86 per mile (all rates include fuel surcharge). Van load volume decreased 3.9% compared with the prior week, as capacity ticked up 1.1%, lowering the load-to-truck ratio from 2.4 to 2.3. Load-to-truck ratios represent the number of loads posted for every truck posted on the DAT network of load boards.

Among the lanes with the strongest rates for van freight during the week were Philadelphia to Boston, at $3.34 per mile, up 20¢ last week; Los Angeles to Denver, at $2.63 per mile; Columbus, Ohio, to Philadelphia, at $2.86 per mile; Dallas to Houston, at $2.30 per mile; and Atlanta to Orlando, at $2.60 per mile.

The national average rate for refrigerated freight dropped 4 cents to $2.08 per mile. The line-haul rate remains solid at $1.58 per mile, trailing September rates by just 1 cent and 7 cents ahead of rates in October 2012. Strong lanes included Elizabeth, N.J., to Boston, at $3.64, up 16¢ last week; Santa Ana to Phoenix, at $2.93 per mile; and Fort Worth to Houston, at $3.19 per mile.

Nationally, reefer load volume increased 1.3% compared to the prior week while capacity decreased 1.3%. That drove the load-to-truck ratio up to 7.9 last week from 7.7 the week before.

Demand for flatbed loads dropped 4% last week and capacity fell 1%. The load-to-truck ratio now stands at 13.5, down 3% from 13.9 the prior week. Flatbed rates recovered 2 cents last week after dropping 13 cents the prior week. The line haul rate is down about 3 cents from September.

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