Fleet Management

Spot Van, Flatbed Freight Rates Rebound Slightly

May 24, 2017

By Evan Lockridge

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National average spot truckload rates for van and flatbed freight rose during the week ending May 20 while the refrigerated freight rate remained at its highest mark since January, reported freight matching service provider DAT Solutions.

The number of available loads on DAT load boards increased 5.4% compared to the previous week while posted truck capacity fell 2.9%. Van and reefer load-to-truck ratios had double-digit increases:

  • Van ratio: 3.7 loads per truck, up 12%
  • Reefer ratio: 7.2 loads per truck, up 17%
  • Flatbed ratio: 38.3 loads per truck, up 4%

The national average van rate increased 1 cent $1.69 per mile as the number of posted loads increased 9% while truck posts fell 3%. Average outbound rates, including fuel surcharges, from major markets were mixed:

  • Los Angeles: $2.02 per mile, up 1 cent
  • Chicago: $1.86 per mile, down 2 cents
  • Houston: $1.77 per mile, unchanged
  • Charlotte: $1.97 per mile, down 2 cents
  • Philadelphia: $1.65 per mile, down 2 cents

Meantime, reefer load posts increased 13% while truck posts declined 2% last week. The national average spot reefer rate held at $1.99 per mile, the highest weekly average since mid-January.

Prices out of California were varied, with rates trending up in Southern California but slipping or remaining unchanged in Central Valley markets. With harvests winding down in Florida, rates dropped significantly from Miami and Lakeland.

Other key reefer lanes showed big differences in rates:

  • McAllen-Dallas: $2.51 per mile, down 3 cents
  • Elizabeth, New Jersey-Boston: $3.46 per mile, down 12 cents
  • Atlanta-Chicago: $1.57 per mile, down 15 cents
  • Los Angeles-Denver: $2.87 per mile, up 3 cents
  • Grand Rapids-Atlanta: $1.92 per mile, up 2 cents

There was very little movement in the flatbed market as load posts increased 1% while truck posts declined 3%. The national average spot flatbed rate added 1 cent to $2.09 per mile with the flatbed load-to-truck ratio remaining strong, though not quite as healthy as it was the final week of April when it was at 44.5 to 1.

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