Fleet Management

Spot Market Rates Jumped As 2013 Drew to a Close

January 02, 2014

By Evan Lockridge

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Rates on one of the nation’s largest spot freight markets increased in all three major categories, according to newly released figures.

From Dec. 22 through the 28, rates for vans picked up 0.5% from the previous seven days, for an average of $1.95 per mile, reports DAT. During the same time rates for flatbeds increased 1.9% to $2.15 per mile, while reefers moved 1.4% higher to $2.12 per mile. This pushed the overall average rate up to $1.95 per mile, its peak for all of 2013.

“In general, the stronger rates and demand for capacity seem to be driven by an economy running on all cylinders throughout most of the fourth quarter, and especially since mid-November. Auto sales and production were particularly strong,” says DAT Senior Rate Analyst Mark Montague. “Rates and capacity were also influenced by disruptive winter weather and new hours of service rules, which, combined with the economic uptick, caused spot-shortages of equipment. Winter weather had a ripple effect on the supply chain in southern markets like Texas, which are less prepared for it.”

The rate hikes came as overall spot market freight availability during the period fell 43%.

Likewise, load-to-truck ratios also dropped across the board with the largest being in the van category, losing 21%, followed by flatbeds falling 13% and reefers dropping 7.4%.

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