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Spot Truckload Freight Rates Soar Along With Load-to-Truck Ratios

June 14, 2017

By Evan Lockridge

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Graphic: DAT
Graphic: DAT

Average spot truckload freight rates jumped sharply for the second straight week in all three major equipment types while load-to-truck ratios also headed much higher for the week ending June 10, according to new figures from DAT Solutions and based on its network of load boards.

The number of available loads was up 30% compared to the previous week, which was shortened by the Memorial Day holiday and included the annual Roadcheck truck inspection blitz. A 20% increase is more in line with expectations.

According to DAT, brokers and shippers paid a premium for capacity in most major markets and lanes. Load-to-truck ratios reflected the increased freight activity:

  • Van ratio: 5.7 loads per truck, up 12% from previous week
  • Reefer ratio: 10.1 loads per truck, up 33%
  • Flatbed ratio: 49.2 loads per truck, up 27%

Nationally, the number of posted van loads increased 12% while truck posts were 8% higher. The national average van rate gained 6 cents to $1.79 per mile. Outbound rates were up in almost every major van freight market:

  • Los Angeles: $2.28 per mile, up 10 cents
  • Chicago: $2.06 per mile, up 6 cents
  • Dallas: $1.76 per mile, up 3 cents
  • Charlotte: $2.16 per mile, up 11 cents
  • Philadelphia: $1.73 per mile, up 5 cents

Of the top 100 van lanes, only 26 had lower rates.

Reefer load posts increased 30% while truck posts fell 2%, which helped move the national average rate 7 cents higher to $2.11 per mile. California shipments are expected to stay strong at least through the Fourth of July, and a few lanes crossed the $3 mark:

  • Fresno-Denver surged 61 cents to $3.14 per mile
  • Los Angeles-Portland, Oregon, was up 45 cents to $3.33 per mile
  • Sacramento-Portland added 50 cents to $3.21 per mile
  • Sacramento-Salt Lake City rose 27 cents to an average of $3.00 mile

Florida outbound rates tumbled, including Lakeland-Charlotte, which plunged 84 cents to an average of $1.82 per mile.

In the flatbed sector, the load-to-truck ratio skyrocketed as load posts increased 38% while truck posts increased 9%.

The national average rate increased 3 cents last week to $2.15 per mile, the highest weekly average rate in nearly two years. Flatbed demand can be volatile and shifts on a lane-by-lane basis, according to DAT.

Key outbound flatbed rate movers last week include:

  • Las Vegas, $2.82 per mile, up 36 cents
  • Cleveland, $2.31 mile, up 11 cents
  • Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, $3.41 per mile, up 2 cents

Rates are derived from DAT RateView, which provides real-time reports on prevailing spot market and contract rates, as well as historical rate and capacity trends. All reported rates include fuel surcharges.

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