Fleet Management

Spot Truckload Rates, Demand for Trucks Remain High

June 28, 2017

By Evan Lockridge

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The number of posted loads gained 2.5% while truck posts dipped 1.2% on the spot truckload market during the week ending June 24, according to DAT Solutions and its network of load boards.

Severe weather disrupted freight movement in the South but load-to-truck ratios were solid as shippers prepared for both the end of a quarter and the last full week before the July 4 holiday.

Vans increased 6.6% to 5.5 loads per trucks while reefers fell 14% to 10.4 loads per truck. The flatbed ratio declined 6% to a still extraordinarily high 41.8 loads per truck.

Overall spot truckload rates held steady even though surcharges are on the decline. On-highway diesel fell 2 cents to a national average of $2.47 per gallon.

Nationally, the number of posted van loads jumped 5% while truck posts fell 1%. The average van rate was unchanged for the second straight week at $1.79 per mile, 10 cents higher than the average for May.

Major markets in the Southeast saw a surge in rates last week, due partly to the weather. Van freight from Atlanta is drawing the nation’s highest outbound average spot rate at $2.29 per mile, up 10 cents compared to the previous week.

Average outbound rates from Chicago added 4 cents to an average of $2.08 per mile. Chicago-Los Angeles rose 22 cents to $1.31 per mile, a surprise given how the lane is rail-competitive.

St. Louis and Laredo, Texas, were also hot with thousands of daily load posts and a shortage of available trucks for all trailer types.

Reefer load posts increased 10% while truck posts fell 4%. The national average rate was up a penny to $2.12 per mile, and rates rose on 41 of the top 72 reefer lanes compared to only 27 in the previous week.

Atlanta was also a hot market for reefers thanks to all the seasonal produce leaving refrigerated warehouses and food processing plants. Much of that produce originates in the Tifton and Macon markets in southern Georgia and is distributed out of Atlanta. The average outbound rate was $2.50 per mile, up 5 cents while Atlanta-Chicago increased 39 cents to $2.15 per mile.

The flatbed load-to-truck ratio receded again after hitting its highest level in years just two weeks ago as load posts fell 3% while truck posts increased 3%. At $2.15 per mile, the national average flatbed rate fell 1 cent compared to the previous week.

Rates are derived from DAT RateView, which provides real-time reports on prevailing spot market and contract rates, as well as historical rate and capacity trends. All reported rates include fuel surcharges.

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