Fleet Management

Spot Truckload Freight Rates Continue Moving Higher Following Hurricanes

September 28, 2017

By Evan Lockridge

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The number of available loads on the spot truckload freight market rose as freight rates moved higher again for the week ending Sept. 23, according to new figures from DAT Solutions and its network of load boards.

The number of available trucks increased 5% but load-to-truck ratios remained high with vans at 6.4 to 1, down 3% from last week. In contrast, flatbeds improved 5% to 43.2 to 1 and reefers ticked up 3% to 12.2 to 1.

National average spot truckload rates made gains with reefers posting the biggest gain from a week ago, 3 cents, for a national average of $2.18 per mile. Both vans and flatbeds improved by a penny to $1.94 per mile and $2.25 per mile, respectively. All reported rates include fuel surcharges.

A lot of this can be attributed to the supply chain disruptions caused by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, plus the uptick in fuel costs that followed, according to DAT. But so far, truckload capacity hasn't shown many signs of loosening, so prices have stayed elevated even after the initial spikes in rates caused by the storms.

Nationally, van load posts increased 4% and spot market volumes hit an all-time high on the top 100 van lanes. Rates rose on 66 of those lanes, and the national average van rate is 16 cents higher it was for the month of August.

Regionally, van volume soared 52% out of Atlanta due to emergency freight headed to Florida and pent-up demand from delayed shipments due to Hurricane Irma. Despite the higher demand from shippers, the average outbound van rate declined in Atlanta, down 9 cents to $2.49 per mile.

Rates out of Texas markets were also down, but outbound averages in both Dallas, at $1.78 per mile, and Houston, at $1.72 per mile, were higher than before Hurricane Harvey hit almost five weeks ago.

In the spot reefer market, the number of load posts increased 6% and truck posts gained 3% last week. In the flatbed segment, load posts increased 4% while truck posts declined 1%.

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