Spot Freight Rates Show Little Post Labor Day Week Jump

September 23, 2015

By Evan Lockridge

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Rates on the spot market showed little to no improvement over the past week, with little of the usual after-Labor-Day jump in available freight .

New figures released by DAT Solutions, based on its network of load boards, shows the flatbed sector had the only increase when it came to rates, rising just 0.5% from Sept. 13-19 compared to the previous week, for an average of $2.04 per mile.

All reported rates include fuel surcharges.

Flatbed load availability rose 19% and truck posts increased 31.6% compared to the previous week. This caused the number of flatbed loads to drop 9.6%, resulting in 10.2 available flatbed loads for every truck posted on the DAT network.

This happened as there was an 11% increase in the number of overall posted loads and a 31% increase in total available capacity, helping push spot load-to-truck ratios down for all three equipment types. A more significant increase in available loads is typical for the first full work week following Labor Day, according to DAT.

Van-load availability increased 5.3%, which actually indicates a decline in demand as capacity rose for the same reasons, but at a higher rate, up 31.1%. The resulting load-to-truck ratio decreased 19.7% to 1.6 loads per truck.

The average van rate fell 1.1% as a national average to $1.75 per mile. Rates were down in most markets, although outbound rates held steady in California. 

Refrigerated load volume increased just 6.4%, also well below the norm after a holiday week. Truck posts were more in line with expectations, climbing 26.5%. The reefer load-to-truck ratio shrank 15.9% to 4.4 loads per truck, and the spot reefer rate slipped 0.5% to national average of $2.03 per mile.

The national average price of diesel fuel during this time fell 3 cents to $2.49 per gallon.

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