Fleet Management

Spot Freight Rates Fall as Capacity Increases, Available Loads Decline

January 28, 2015

By Evan Lockridge

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Rates on the spot freight market continued falling the past week due to fewer loads available and increasing truck capacity, according to the freight matching service provider DAT Solutions.

Flatbeds posted the biggest decline Jan. 18 through Jan. 24 compared to the previous seven days, shedding 1.8%, for an average of $2.21 per mile. About three quarters of this drop was due to a decline in the line haul portion of the rate while the rest was due to a lower fuel surcharge. This compares to a rate of $2.31 per mile for the seven-day period ending Jan. 3.

Vans fell 1% for an average of $1.96 per mile, 11 cents less than three weeks earlier, while reefers declined 0.9% to $2.27 per mile, also 11 less than three weeks ago. Both drops were evenly split between declines in the line haul and fuel surcharge portions of the rate.

The falloff in available loads and increased truck capacity, not surprisingly, resulted in lower load-to-truck ratios in all three sectors, with each decling around 30%.

Vans fell to 2.2 loads per truck, its lowest level since November 2013, while the flatbed ratio fell to 10 loads per truck. The reefer ratio dropped to 6.9 loads per truck.

Looking ahead it will be interesting to see how much this week’s blizzard in parts of the Northeast may push rates higher. Last winter a more powerful snowstorm in the area had a big impact on truckload freight, according to DAT Analyst Matt Sullivan in the company’s Freight Talk Blog.

“This most recent storm shouldn’t have as drastic an effect on freight movements, though, as a few things should mitigate the impact,” he wrote.

Read more about how this most recent blizzard could affect the spot freight market from DAT.

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