Fleet Management

Spot Reefer Rate Hits 3-Year High, Van Lanes Surge

November 28, 2017

By Evan Lockridge

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While the short Thanksgiving workweek meant fewer loads and trucks posted on the spot truckload freight market demand for capacity boosted van and refrigerated freight rates, according to DAT Solutions and its network of load boards.

It reported there were 33% fewer loads and 26% fewer trucks for the week ending Nov. 25 compared to the week before as spot rates continued to hover at below seasonal norms.

  • Reefer: $2.43 per mile, up 3 cents for the second straight week, hitting a three-year record
  • Van: $2.07 per mile, up 1 cent compared to the previous week
  • Flatbed: $2.29 per mile, unchanged from last week

All reported rates include fuel surcharges.

In the reefer market, the number of load posts fell 38% while truck posts dropped 16%, causing the reefer ratio to decline 26% to 9.6 loads per truck. Several outbound reefer markets experienced double-digit average rate increases including:

  • Los Angeles, $3.14 per mile, up 25 cents
  • Dallas, $2.32 per mile, up 10 cents
  • McAllen, Texas, $2.23 per mile, up 20 cents
  • Philadelphia at $3.16 per mile, up 25 cents

Van load post activity fell 26% and truck posts dropped 27% but the van ratio increased slightly to 6.8 loads per truck. Heading into December, the spot van outlook is strong and rates from key markets are surging compared to the week before:

  • Los Angeles, $2.77 per mile, up 6 cents
  • Chicago, $2.82 per mile, up 12 cents
  • Memphis, $2.42 per mile, up 3 cents
  • Atlanta, $2.38 per mile, up 6 cents
  • Dallas, $1.87 per mile, up 11 cents
  • Buffalo, $2.58 per mile, up 13 cents
  • Philadelphia, $2.02 per mile, up 6 cents

Several van lanes spiked as well compared to the previous week:

  • Chicago-Detroit, $3.69 per mile, up 27 cents
  • Chicago-Los Angeles, $1.54 per mile, up 5 cents
  • Buffalo-Allentown, $3.76 per mile, up 36 cents
  • Dallas-Houston, $2.73 per mile, up 17 cents
  • Los Angeles-Phoenix, $3.64 per mile, up 24 cents

Flatbed load and truck posts were lower last week due to the Thanksgiving holiday. Load posts fell 39% and truck posts dropped 35%. The flatbed load-to-truck ratio dipped 5% to 26 loads per truck, still a high ratio.


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