Fleet Management

Spot Truckload Rates Steady as Available Freight Increases

October 28, 2016

By Evan Lockridge

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While there were slightly more loads and trucks on the spot market during the week ending Oct. 22, according to DAT Solutions and its network of load boards, rates moved little from the week before.

With the number of posted loads up 1.5% and available truck capacity up 2.5% compared to the week before there was little movement in national average spot rates. The reefer and flatbed rate each slipped 1 cent to $1.90 per mile and $1.91 per mile, respectively, while the average van rate held steady at $1.66 per mile. All rates include fuel surcharges.

Load-to-truck ratios also were mixed with the van ratio down 6% to 2.7 to 1, reefers up 2% to 5.9 to 1, and flatbeds up 6% to 15.6 to 1

Van Load Availability Edges Higher

 Van load availability slipped 3% and truck posts increased 4% last week, which caused the load-to-truck ratio to dip. The Southeast felt the greatest effects of Hurricane Matthew. Outbound rates from Charlotte returned to pre-storm norms, down 22 cents to $1.90/mile last week. Other top van markets by region: 

  • West: Los Angeles, $2.06 per mile, unchanged
  • South Central: Dallas, $1.54 per mile, up 2 cents
  • Midwest: Chicago, $2.00 per mile, up 1 cent
  • Northeast: Buffalo, $2.01 per mile, up 3 cents

Reefers Rates Trending Higher Near the Mexican Border

Northern harvests are wrapping up but cross-border Mexican produce is ramping up. That led to more loads and higher rates in border markets like McAllen, Texas, up 7 cents to $1.76 mile. Nationally, the number of reefer load posts rose 2% and truck posts increased 1% last week. 

According to DAT, there are also some other key reefer lanes to keep in mind such as:

  • Ontario, California-Phoenix, dropped 4 cents to an average of $2.82 pwe mile
  • Long-haul reefer freight from the West Coast trended down. For example, Ontario-Chicago lost 14 cents to $1.64/mile
  • Grand Rapids, Michigan, outbound fell 6 cents to $2.92 pe mile
  • Reefer rates declined last week in the Southeast, as post-hurricane relief was no longer as urgent. The average outbound rate from Atlanta lost 7 cents to $2.26 per mile, and Atlanta-Lakeland, Florida was off 9 cents to $2.86/mile.

On the flatbed side of the market, there was little unusual activity except that load posts increased 6.6% as truck posts held steady.

All this happened as the national average price of diesel was unchanged from the previous week at $2.48 per gallon.

DAT also noted in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, freight patterns before and after the storm are worth remembering for the next weather event. 

“There was a surge in available van freight before the storm and a slump during the hurricane itself. Then there was another surge in freight to bring in relief supplies, DAT said. “While most roads are open again, it’s likely that normal business was still disrupted last week because rates and volumes were down. Flatbed freight was up in the Southeast, though, which means rebuilding efforts are underway.”

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