Fleet Management

Spot Freight Rates Up from Last Week, Way Down from Year Ago

January 06, 2016

By Evan Lockridge

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Average rates for flatbeds and reefers on the spot freight market ticked slightly higher during the final week of 2015 and first two days of this year compared to the week before, according to DAT Solutions and its load boards.

Flatbeds increased 0.5% to $1.92 per mile as load posts increased 7.8% and truck posts fell 29%. This propelled the load-to-truck ratio 51% higher, resulting in 11.4 load available for every truck posted on the DAT network.

Reefers gained an even bigger 1% in rates, pushing it to $1.95 per mile, its best showing in at least the last three weeks. Load posting soared 40% and truck posts declined 24%, pushing the load-to-truck ratio up 83% to 9.6.

In contrast, the national average van rate was unchanged at $1.71 per mile for the third straight week, despite a 1-cent decline in the average fuel surcharge last week. Rates rose in major markets in the Northeast, the Midwest, and on the West Coast.

The number of van load posts jumped 27% while truck posts dropped 28%. As a result, the van load-to-truck ratio rose 77% to 3.4.

The increase in rates was expected, according to DAT Analyst Peggy Dorf, in the DAT blog, who predicted last week shippers would accelerate freight movements to close the year on a high note.

Rates Down Dramatically from Year Earlier

For the month of December, the national average van rate remained at $1.71 per mile compared to November, despite a 3 cents decline in fuel surcharges. Compared to December 2014, last month's rate was down 37 cents, which includes a 20 cents drop in the fuel surcharge.

The national average reefer rate rose 1 cent last month from November to $1.95 per mile, but is 41 cents lower compared to December 2014.

The national average flatbed rate was unchanged at $1.92 per mile. Year-over-year, the total rate declined 36 cents compared to the average rate in December 2014, including a 22 cents drop in the average fuel surcharge.

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