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Spot Market Freight Rates Down Over Past Week

December 17, 2014

By Evan Lockridge

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Graphic: DAT Solutions
Graphic: DAT Solutions

A rally in spot market freight rates seen last week turned out to be short-lived, with across-the-board declines being reported in new numbers from the freight matching service provider DAT Solutions.

Reefer rates fell an average of 2.5% to $2.35 per mile for Dec. 7 through Dec. 13 compared to the previous seven days. Demand ebbed after Thanksgiving but may rebound briefly before Christmas, according to DAT.

Van rates posted a 0.5% decline to $2.09 per mile, though DAT described demand for the sector as being strong for the season while rates remain elevated.

Flatbed rates fell 0.4% to $2.32 per mile, very close to where it has been the past several weeks, but are strong for what is typically a slow time of year for such freight, according to DAT.

The declines were due to a 23% increase in spot market truck capacity coupled with a 5.6% drop in the number of spot market loads available to haul.

Not surprisingly, this sent load-to-truck ratios in all three sectors plunging between 22% and 25%. The flatbed load-to-truck ratio declined from 18.2 to 13.8 loads per truck as flatbed freight availability fell 6.4% and flatbed truck capacity declined 25%.

Demand for reefers declined 6.4% while capacity increased 19%, resulting in a drop in the load-to-truck ratio. The previous week's figure of 12.6 fell 23%, to a more typical seasonal level of 9.7 loads per truck.

Van freight availability fell 3.1% and capacity added 24%, as much holiday freight has already been delivered. The national average load-to-truck ratio for vans dropped 22%, from 4.5 to 3.5 loads per truck, which is relatively strong for this season, according to DAT.

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