Fleet Management

Spot Truckload Rates Steady, Freight Volume Inches Higher

April 26, 2017

By Evan Lockridge

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National average spot truckload rates for van, reefer, and flatbed freight all held steady for the week ending April 22, while prices in many major freight markets continued a slow springtime climb, according to DAT Solutions and its network load boards.

The number of available loads jumped 10% compared to the previous week while truck capacity tightened 1.5%. Load-to-truck ratios increased for all three equipment types:

  • Van ratio: 3.6 loads per truck, up 11%
  • Reefer ratio: 6.7 loads per truck, up 2%
  • Flatbed ratio: 47.8 loads per truck, up 20%

The national average van rate was $1.68 per mile. All reported rates include fuel surcharges. Lanes with rising rates continue to outnumber falling lanes on a week-to-week basis but not enough to bump up the national average.

The average rate on each of these lanes hit their highest marks in the last six weeks:

  • Philadelphia-Boston, up 27 cents to $3.34 per mile
  • Memphis-Columbus, $1.89 per mile, up 14 cents
  • Dallas-Denver, up 11 cents to $1.94 per mile
  • Stockton-Seattle, up 15 cents for $2.18 mile

Buffalo and Denver are the only markets where outbound rates are down more than 1% for the month.

The top five markets for van load posts were all in the South:

  • Atlanta, $1.94 per mile, up 2 cents
  • Charlotte, $1.91 per mile, down 1 cent
  • Houston, $1.66 per mile, down 1 cent
  • Dallas, $1.64 per mile, up 5 cents
  • Memphis, $1.95 per mile, unchanged

Last week reefer load posts held steady while truck posts declined 2%. One market where freight patterns are shifting is Florida. Volumes were down and wildfires and evacuations made it more expensive to move freight.

For instance, Miami-Boston reefer rates were up 23 cents to $2.14 per mile and Lakeland, Florida-Baltimore climbed 26 cents to $2.00 per mile. The largest drop last week was on the lane from Chicago-Philadelphia, which fell 23 cents to $2.37 per mile.

The flatbed load-to-truck ratio jumped 20% to 47.8 loads per truck. That’s the highest weekly flatbed load-to-truck ratio in years. Flatbed load posts increased 14% while truck posts declined 5%.

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