Fleet Management

Spot Truckload Freight Rates Give Back Most of Recent Gains

April 13, 2016

By Evan Lockridge

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Spot freight rates eased off the gas as spot truckload volume dipped 1% and the number of posted trucks increased 6.2% for the week ending April 9, according to DAT Solutions and its network of load boards.

Flatbed load volume rose 9% and capacity increased 3% compared to the previous week, resulting in a 6% increase in the load-to-truck ratio to 23.5 to 1. The national average flatbed rate rose 1 cent to $1.92 per mile, compared to a 4-cents gain the week before.

All reported rates include fuel surcharges.

Despite this, there was strong demand in the Southeast, according to DAT, with several markets in the region experiencing higher average outbound rates, led by Jacksonville, Florida, up 18 cents to $2.45 per mile.

Van-load posts fell 13% and truck posts increased 7% as rates trended down in 63 of the top 100 van lanes. Most of the adjustments were small: Los Angeles outbound fell a penny to an average of $1.84 per mile; Denver dropped 1 cent to $1.13; Buffalo fell 4 cents to $1.91; and Atlanta dipped 1 cent to $1.70.

Nationally, the van load-to-truck ratio was 1.6 to 1, down from 1.9 to 1 the previous week, while the average van rate fell 4 cents to $1.53 per mile.

Reefer load posts declined 12% while truck posts gained 7% last week. As a result, the reefer load-to-truck ratio fell to 2.6 to 1 and the average reefer rate declined 2 cents to $1.80 per mile.

Regionally, produce season is winding down in Florida while California is slowly improving as more produce from Mexico led to a surge in volume out of Nogales, Arizona, reported DAT.

The figures follow numbers released earlier this week by DAT showing little to no improvements in spot market freight rates in March compared to both the month before and a year earlier.

According to the Journal of Commerce, truckload pricing inside and outside of the spot market remains soft due to weak demand while downward pricing pressure is widespread.

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