Fleet Management

Spot Market Volume Grows for Reefers, Vans

November 11, 2015

By Evan Lockridge

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Signaling the movement of holiday goods, the number of posted van and refrigerated loads on the spot truckload market increased as the rate in one of the three major sectors moved slightly higher for a change.

New figures from DAT Solutions show for the week ending Nov. 7 that van load availability increased 4.5% and the national average truckload van spot market rate showed its first gain in weeks, rising a penny to $1.72 per mile despite a 1-cent decline in the average fuel surcharge.

All figures are based on the DAT network of load boards while all rates include fuel surcharges.

The average van rate showed life in key markets including Los Angeles, up 2 cents to $1.99 per mile; Memphis, $2.04, up 7 cents; Chicago, $1.96, up 1 cent; and Columbus, Ohio, $1.85, up 1 cent.

The load-to-truck ratio rose 7.5%, resulting in 1.6 available van loads for every truck posted on the DAT network, though it remains well behind the 2.8 mark at this time last year. Changes in the ratio often signal impending variations in rates, according to DAT.

The national average spot refrigerated freight rate was unchanged at $1.94 per mile last week, as a 1-cent increase in the line-haul rate was offset by a 1-cent decline in the average fuel surcharge.

Outbound rates rose in major markets in California and Florida. Reefer load availability increased 7.1% while available capacity declined 1.2%. As a result, the reefer load-to-truck ratio rose 8.4% to 3.9 loads per truck.

Flatbed load availability declined 10.4% while flatbed truck posts dropped 5.9%. The national flatbed load-to-truck ratio dropped 4.8% to 8.1 loads per truck, while the national average flatbed rate fell 3 cents to $1.97 per mile.

All this happened as the national average price of diesel rose 2 cents to $2.50 per gallon while a 0.9% drop in total spot market load availability was offset by a 3.1% decline in the number of trucks listed on the DAT network.

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