Fleet Management

Spot Truckload Freight Rates Slip Over Past Week

November 16, 2016

By Evan Lockridge

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Following some improvements with both rates and freight availability on the spot truckload freight market the first week of the month the following week was one that gave back some gains.

New details from DAT Solutions its load boards show the amount of available spot freight declined 1% for the week ending Nov. 12.

With available truck capacity up 5% compared to the previous week, national average load-to-truck ratios weakened with the van ratio down 3% to 2.7 available van loads per truck while the refrigerated load-to-truck ratio dropped 5% to 6.4 to 1. The flatbed ratio was unchanged at 14.1 to 1.

As a national average, spot truckload rates remain solid, according to DAT, with vans down 3 cents for an average of $1.67 per mile. Both reefers and flatbeds fell 2 cents for averages of $1.95 per mile and $1.89 per mile, respectively. All reported rates include fuel surcharges. These declined happened as the average price of on-highway diesel dropped another 3 cents to $2.44 per gallon.

In the van sector, the two strongest spot markets remain out West, Los Angeles and Ontario, California. Los Angeles-Phoenix paid the best average rate in the region at $2.77 per mile, up 5 cents over the previous week. Philadelphia saw the biggest average outbound rate increase thanks mostly to lanes to destinations in the Northeast. That includes Philadelphia-Boston, up 10 cents to $3.20 per mile.

High van markets by region:

  • West: Los Angeles, $2.08 per mile, unchanged
  • Midwest: Chicago, $2.09 per mile, up 1 cent
  • South Central: Dallas, $1.50 per mile, down 2 cents
  • Southeast: Memphis, $1.91 per mile, up 1 cent
  • Northeast: Buffalo, $1.93 per mile, down 3 cents

The number of reefer load posts declined 1.5% while truck posts increased 3.4%. DAT reported produce had an off week with several markets experiencing a large fall-off in volumes.

One area that bucked the trend was Southern Idaho, where potatoes and onions are rolled out ahead of Thanksgiving. Twin Falls was the number one market for reefer load posts last week, and the load-to-truck ratio there surged to 33.4 loads per truck.

With peak apple season over in Michigan, rates dropped on lanes out of Grand Rapids. Apples will continue moving from storage locations throughout the winter, a reason the lane from Grand Rapids to Madison bounced back up to $2.37 per mile.

Flatbed load posts declined 2% last week, and truck posts increased 2%. The average rate fell for the second straight week. Flatbed load availability increased 12% in October, and capacity declined 1.5%, compared to September. That combination yielded a 14% increase in the national load-to-truck ratio, from 12.8 to 14.5 loads per truck. Compared to September 2015, the ratio rose 47%.

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