Fleet Management

Van, Reefer Rates Improve on Spot Freight Market

December 04, 2014

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Graphic: DAT
Graphic: DAT

Spot market freight rates have improved over the past week, though some more than others, according to the freight matching service provider DAT Solutions.

Reefers posted the biggest gain, 1.1%, for Nov. 23 through Nov. 29 compared to the previous seven days, for an average of $2.37 per mile, its best showing out of the last four weeks. The gain was possibly due to heightened demand and bad weather, according to DAT.

Vans gained nearly as much, 1%, for an average of $2.05 per mile, also its best performance out of the past four weeks.

Flatbeds barely edged higher, 0.1%, but the average rate was unchanged from the week before at $2.31 per mile, as winter is typically a slow season for the sector, according to DAT.

The increases came as overall spot market loads available to haul fell 20% but it were outweighed by a bigger 25% decline in spot market truck capacity.

Also load-to-truck ratios increased in two of the three categories, with vans jumping 21% to 4.4 loads available per truck, as truckload van capacity fell 26%. Flatbeds also improved, but not as much, increasing 4.5% to 16.8 loads available per truck as capacity fell by nearly a third.

In contrast, the reefer load-to-truck ratio fell 7.9% to 11.6 loads per truck due to a 24% decrease in demand for reefers on the spot market coupled with a 17% decline in available capacity.

According to DAT Analyst Mark Montague, writing for company’s Freight Talk Blog, overall spot market rates this year are up 10% from 2013. While this may not seem like a huge hike, he notes it is when you consider from 1983 to 1997 spot market rates on many popular routes barely changed.

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