Spot Freight Rates Continue Decline as Capacity Rebounds

February 18, 2015

By Evan Lockridge

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Freight availability and rates on the spot truckload freight market fell in the most recent week as truck capacity increased, according to DAT Solutions, which operates its network of load boards.

The amount of freight available to haul declined 4.5% the second week of February compared to the week before while capacity increased 10%, causing rates to slide in the major equipment categories for the third straight week.

The national average flatbed rate dropped 0.9% to $2.12 per mile. Despite this outbound rates in several markets remained strong including Los Angeles at an average of $2.43 per mile; Rock Island, Illinois., $2.60 per mile; Houston, $2.41 per mile; Memphis, $2.78 per mile; and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania., $3.29 per mile.

After losing 7 cents the previous week, the national average van rate fell just 0.5% to $1.86 per mile including fuel surcharge, which was unchanged. Countering the national trend, the average outbound rate rose in Buffalo, up 5 cents to $1.94 per mile, likely due to harsh weather, according to DAT.

The national average reefer rate slipped another 0.5% to $2.10 as line-haul rates drift down seasonally. Reefer rates across the West were down, with outbound freight from Los Angeles losing 14 cents to $2.54 per mile.

During this same time capacity recovered as number of van loads posted on the DAT Network fell 6.6% while available van capacity increased 10% compared to the previous week. The van load-to-truck ratio was down 15% to 2.1 van loads posted for every available van on DAT load boards last week.

Flatbed load availability increased 2.5% and truckload capacity increased 8.2% last week. The load-to-truck ratio dipped to 11.1 loads per truck, a 5.4% percent decline.

Demand for reefers gave back 11% last week, and capacity added 8.9%, reversing the previous week's brief trend. The resulting load-to-truck ratio declined 18% to 6.2 reefer loads per truck.

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