Spot Market Rates Rebounding as Dry Vans Jump

December 10, 2015

By Evan Lockridge

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Rates on the spot truckload market may finally be showing signs of rebounding as a 45% increase in the number of available loads greatly outweighed the 12% hike in truck capacity last week.

According to the latest numbers from DAT Solutions, based on its load board activity, the increase in rates included a 6 cents per mile hike in the dry van sector, as it moved up to a national average of $1.77 per mile. All rates include fuel surcharges.

This 3.5% increase happened as demand for van equipment soared, according to DAT, with the load to truck ratio improving 32% from 2.1 available loads per truck to 2.8. Load posts increased 49% from the previous week while truck posts gained just 11%.

“Hot states were everywhere in last week's map of van load-to-truck ratios by state,” said DAT Analyst Peggy Dorf in the DAT blog. “Sure, there are some exceptions, including all those dead-end markets in the Mid-Atlantic region and Florida, plus a couple of Southwestern states. Michigan and Illinois had pretty good load volume for vans, but they also had lots of trucks available, so the statewide ratios fell below the national average.”

The refrigerated sector saw average rates move higher for at least the third straight week, up 0.5% from last week, to $1.95 per mile.

Reefer load posts climbed 39%, as brokers returned to a five-day work week, and shippers replenished inventory after Thanksgiving, according to DAT. Truck posts increased only 5%, however, the national load-to-truck ratio rose 33%, to 5.7 loads per truck.

The average flatbed rate was unchanged from last week at $1.92 per mile, its third straight week at this level as a 1 cent increase in the linehaul rate was offset by a 1 cent decline in fuel surcharges as the national average cost of fuel fell 1% last week.

This came despite flatbed load posts increasing 47% while truck capacity added just 15%. As a result, the load-to-truck ratio rose 28%, from 6.4 to 8.2 loads per truck.

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