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Spot Truckload Freight Rates Lose Momentum

March 30, 2016

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A rally for spot truckload rates and load-to-truck ratios seen the week before turned out to be short lived with overall lower freight volume moving lower for the week ending March 26, according to DAT Solutions and its network of load boards. 

The national load-to-truck ratio slipped from 3.8 to 3.7 loads per truck, meaning there were 3.7 available loads for every truck posted. The slight drop may be related to reduced traffic during the Good Friday holiday, DAT said. This happened as overall load availability fell 0.8% while truck capacity increased 1.4%.

The number of van-load posts dipped 1% and the national average van rate fell 2 cents to $1.56 per mile. All reported rates include fuel surcharges.

Average outbound van rates fell in several key markets, including Los Angeles, down 7 cents to $1.80 per mile; Chicago, off 5 cents to $1.70; and Philadelphia, 2 cents lower to $1.65. Nationally, the van load-to-truck ratio was 1.6, unchanged from the previous week.

Reefer load posts fell 3% while truck posts added 3% for a reefer load-to-truck ratio of 3.1, down 6%. California, Texas, and southern Florida all experienced stronger seasonal volumes, outpacing slower markets elsewhere as the national average reefer rate fell a penny to $1.82 per mile.

Flatbed volume remained the same compared to the previous week and capacity increased 2%. The load-to-truck ratio dipped 2% to 17.9 loads per truck while the national average flatbed rate was unchanged at $1.87 per mile.

During this time the national average diesel price remained at $2.12 a gallon.

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