Fleet Management

Spot Truckload Rates Hit 2-Year Highs, Hurricane Effects Continue

September 21, 2017

By Evan Lockridge

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Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have come and gone but their effects on supply chains continue, according to the freight matching service provider DAT Solutions, with spot freight rates remaining at two-year highs.

The number of available loads on the spot truckload freight market increased 27% for the week ending Sept. 16, just slightly above normal for the first full workweek of the month following the Labor Day Holiday. However, the number of available trucks rose just 19% at a time when capacity is already tight.

Despite all this activity, national average rates, which include fuel surcharges, barely moved from the week before:

  • Vans: $1.93 per mile, unchanged
  • Flatbeds: $2.24 per mile, unchanged
  • Reefers: $2.18 per mile, up 1 cent

Load-to-truck ratios on the spot market are elevated as well, however, the van ratio was nearly unchanged from last week at 6.6 to 1 while the flatbed ratio improved 19% to 41.1 to 1. The reefer ratio gained 5% coming in at 11.9 to 1.

Nationally, van load posts and truck posts both increased 20% while the number of reefer load posts gained 18% and capacity was up 12%. The most substantial increase was in the flatbed segment, where the number of load posts was up 41% and truck posts increased 19%. At 41.1 to 1, the flatbed load-to-truck ratio is the highest since peak season in April.

Regionally, supply chains adjusted to the aftermath of two major storms. In Florida, van freight volumes increased on lanes from Atlanta and Charlotte, as did average van rates:

  • Atlanta-Lakeland, up 70 cents to $3.65 per mile
  • Atlanta-Miami, up 54 cents to $3.19 per mile
  • Charlotte-Lakeland, up 42 cents to $3.32 per mile

Chicago and Columbus outbound van rates have risen 14% and 15% in the past month, since the Midwest hubs have been in position to facilitate rerouted freight from both Harvey and Irma.

Rates fell on only 35 of the top 100 van lanes, mostly in Texas where pricing continues to normalize after hitting historic highs following Hurricane Harvey. Dallas-Houston fell 54 cents but is still high at $2.96 per mile.

The spot reefer market for Florida freight reflected similar trends. Atlanta-Miami, for instance, jumped 68 cents to $3.34 per mile last week and Atlanta-Lakeland added 52 cents at $3.89 per mile.

 

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