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Spot Market Rates Increase Following Recent Lull

September 10, 2014

By Evan Lockridge

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Rates on one of the nation’s largest spot market have moved higher following a seasonal lull, according to newly released figures.

Freight matching service provider DAT reports gains in all three major categories Aug. 31 through September 6 compared to the previous seven days, with van rates posting the biggest hike. It increased 2% to an average of $2.04 per mile, with is 8,7% higher than the August 2013 average.

Reefers increased nearly as much, 1.8%, hitting $2.32 per mile, 19 cents better than the August 2013 average and its best performance out of the past four weeks, while flatbeds posted a 0.4% gain, hitting $2.44 per mile, 21 cents higher than during August of last year.

The increases happened despite a 19% drop in the total number of spot market loads available, due to an end-of-month push that coincided with Labor Day weekend, according to DAT, but was helped by a 14% drop in spot market truck capacity. This led to load-to-truck ratios falling across the board, with the biggest decline happening in the reefer sector, falling 6.7%. The van load-to-truck ratio fell 5.6% while flatbeds had a 4.4% drop.

DAT notes rates in the current quarter are stronger than the same time in 2013 and if they do not continue moving higher in the fourth quarter, they are more likely to level off rather than fall, due to increased operating costs by fleets in terms of labor and regulatory compliance.

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