Spot Reefer Rates Push Higher for Second Week; Van, Flatbeds Dip

March 16, 2016

By Evan Lockridge

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Spot rates for refrigerated truckload freight are trending higher in the key produce states of California, Texas, and Florida, while cargo volume posted a 10% increase over the past week, according to DAT Solutions and its network of load boards.

The national average reefer rate edged up 1 cent from the previous week to $1.81 per mile, following the same gain the week before. The number of reefer load posts fell 2% while the number truck posts were unchanged. All reported rates include fuel surcharges.

The load-to-truck ratio dropped 2.5%, resulting in three refrigerated loads for every truck posted on the DAT network.

Rising markets for spot reefer freight included Los Angeles, up 7 cents to $2.30 per mile; McAllen, Texas, up 5 cents to $1.86 per mile; and Lakeland, Fla., up 3 cents to an average of $1.31 per mile.

Meantime, van load posts declined 5% and truck posts increased 1%, causing the van load-to-truck ratio to fall 7% from 1.6 to 1.5 loads per truck.

The national average van rate dipped 1 cent to $1.55 per mile following a 2-cent improvement the week before. Outbound rates rose in Los Angeles, but prices fell in Chicago.

Flatbed load volume rose 4% and capacity declined 5%, increasing the load-to-truck ratio 9% to 16.1. The national average flatbed rate dropped 1 cent to $1.82 per mile. Regionally, spot flatbed freight was strongest in the Southeast, according to DAT.

Across all three equipment types, the number of available loads and capacity on the spot market was virtually unchanged compared to the previous week, increasing just 0.1% and 0.2%, respectively.

The national average diesel price rose 8 cents to $2.10 a gallon during this time, leading to a 1-cent gain in fuel surcharges for vans and flatbeds.

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