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Average Spot Market Van Rate Steady; Reefers, Flatbeds Down

November 5, 2014

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The average spot van rate on DAT load boards was unchanged at $2.01 per mile for the week ending Nov. 1 compared to the previous seven days, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards

This is the third straight week the average van rate has been unchanged, but it has been above $2.00 per mile for most of 2014. The average reefer rate was down 0.4% to $2.26 per mile while the flatbed rate dropped 1.3% to $2.35 per mile.

Regionally, the average outbound van rate from Los Angeles increased 6 cents to $2.37 per mile due to continued port congestion and difficulty accessing rail services, according to DAT. Average van rates remain strong from Dallas at $1.82 per mile; Columbus, Ohio at $2.26 per mile; and Atlanta at $2.03 per mile. In the Northeast, the average rate from Buffalo jumped 8 cents to $2.11 per mile.

This happened as overall load availability for van, refrigerated, and flatbed cargo on DAT load boards slipped 1.2% while available truck capacity fell 4.4%.

The number of available van loads declined 1.9% while capacity was off 0.9%. Despite this the van load-to-truck ratio held steady at 2.6, meaning there were just over two and a half van loads posted for every van available on DAT load boards last week.

Reefer freight availability was down 0.4% while capacity decreased 2.2%, which pushed the reefer load-to-truck ratio up 1.8% to 7.8 loads per truck. The number of flatbed loads declined 8.8% and available capacity slipped 2.0%, for a 6.9% slide in the load-to-truck ratio to 17.9 loads per truck.

The load-to-truck ratio is a sensitive, real-time indicator of the balance between spot market demand and capacity and changes in the ratio often signal impending changes in rates, according to DAT.

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