Fleet Management

Spot Truckload Freight Rates Hardly Budge from Week Before

April 27, 2016

By Evan Lockridge

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The number of available spot market loads slipped 2% while posted truck capacity was flat for the week ending April 23 compared to the previous week, according to DAT Solutions and its of load boards, leaving rates nearly unchanged.

Reefer load posts increased 1% while truck posts decreased 1% last week. As a result, the load-to-truck ratio was unchanged, holding at 2.6 to 1. The national average reefer rate held steady at $1.78 per mile. All reported rates include fuel surcharges.

“While demand for reefer capacity increased, especially in the Southeast where produce harvests are ramping up, load-to-truck ratios failed to show gains and average spot truckload rates offered no signs of a seasonal boost,” said DAT.

In the van market, the load-to-truck ratio was unchanged, rounding to 1.4 to 1 on 4% lower freight volume. The national average van rate was also unchanged at $1.50 per mile.

Regionally, van rates weakened or remained the same in several key markets including Atlanta, unchanged at $1.64 per mile; Charlotte, down 2 cents to $1.74; Los Angeles, unchanged at $1.83; and Chicago, down 1 cent to $1.75 per mile.

Flatbed load volume dipped 1% and capacity added less than 1% last week. That led to a 2% decline in the load-to-truck ratio, at 20.2 to 1 the previous week to 19.8 to 1 most recently. The national average flatbed rate dropped 1 cent per mile to $1.90 per mile.

The lack of momentum in rates also came as the national average diesel price rose 4 cents to $2.20 a gallon, building on a 3-cent gain the previous week.

This latest performance in rates follows hope a week earlier they would soon rise, according to DAT Analyst Peggy Dorf.

“Load availability is up in the largest van freight markets, accompanied by a big increase in reefer freight movements compared to the previous week. Flatbed is also gaining strength, especially in the Southeast and South Central regions” she wrote in the DAT blog.

So what happened? While DAT has yet to say, with these latest numbers just being issued, it's a safe bet that lower fuel prices are continuing to hurt spot freight movements as they have since before the start of the year along with a lagging economy, according to recent reports.

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