Fleet Management

Spot Freight Rates Continue Decline Despite More Loads

March 02, 2016

By Evan Lockridge

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Despite greater demand for truckload services, national average van, reefer, and flatbed freight spot rates all slipped for the week ending Feb. 27 compared to the previous week, according to DAT Solutions and its network of load boards.

Overall, the number of loads jumped 8.5% while available truck capacity rose 1.2%.

Van load posts increased 3% while truck posts gained 2%. The load-to-truck ratio held steady with 1.4 van loads for every truck posted on the DAT network. The national average van rate declined 4 cents to $1.54 per mile while its down 8 cents from three week earlier. Outbound rates declined in Los Angeles, Dallas, and Columbus, but Atlanta rates rose modestly in the most recent week.

All reported rates include fuel surcharges.

Reefer load posts fell 2% and truck posts were up less than 1% last week. As a result, the load-to-truck ratio fell 2%, from 2.9 to 2.8 loads per truck. The national average reefer rate fell 5 cents to $1.79 per mile, the lowest out of the past four weeks.

Flatbed load volume rose again, up 17%, while available capacity decreased 2%. That yielded a 19% increase in the national load-to-truck ratio, up from 10.6 to 12.6 loads per truck. The national average flatbed rate gave up 3 cents last week to $1.80 per mile and down 5 cents from three weeks before.

This happened as the national average price of diesel rose 1 cent from the previous week to $1.99 per gallon.

Preliminary numbers show in February compared to the month before, spot market rates declined as the total number of posted loads fell 2.4% and available capacity rose 12% compared to January.

Rates are expected to rebound seasonally in March, according to DAT.


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