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Spot Truckload Rates Remain at Two-Year Highs as Loads Dip

June 21, 2017

By Evan Lockridge

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Average national spot truckload rates remained at two year highs for the week ending June 17th as the number of posted loads dipped 1% and truck posts gained 8%, according to  DAT Solutions and its network of load boards.

Load-to-truck ratios retreated but remain at a three-year high with both reefers and flatbeds down 10%, at 9.1 loads per truck and 44.5 loads per truck, respectively. The van load-to-truck ratio fell 9% to 5.2 to 1.

This happened as on-highway diesel prices continued to slide and fell another 3 cents to a national average of $2.49 per gallon.

The number of posted van loads declined 1% while truck posts increased 9% last week. The national average van rate held steady at $1.79 per mile after adding 11 cents from May 27 to June 10.

DAT said two van markets to watch are Los Angeles and Houston. In Los Angeles van freight climbed more than 10% over the last month and the average rate there added 2 cents per mile last week, hitting $2.30 per mile.

Average outbound rates from Houston rebounded last week, up 6 cents to an average of $1.87 per mile. Houston-New Orleans rose 22 cents to an average of $2.65 per mile while Houston-Oklahoma City hit a new high at $2.30 per mile.

Elsewhere, average outbound rates fell on 40 of the top 100 van lanes.

Reefer load posts dipped 2% while truck posts jumped 8% last week. The national average reefer rate was unchanged at $2.11 per mile, the highest average in nearly two years. On the top 72 reefer lanes, only 27 had higher rates.

Two reefer markets to watch are:

  • Denver, at $1.30 per mile. The Mile High city had the lowest average outbound reefer rate in the country, but inbound rates on several lanes were up. Los Angeles-Denver rose 37 cents to $3.23 per mile, Dallas-Denver was up 24 cents to $2.67 per mile, and Chicago-Denver paid 19 cents better at $2.20 mile.
  • Florida: The lane from Lakeland-Charlotte bounced back 13 cents to $2.00 per mile last week. But many more Florida lanes are down, as droughts and wildfires have hampered the state’s prime shipping season this year. Prices on lanes out of Miami have continued to fall.

The flatbed load-to-truck ratio declined a bit after hitting its highest level in years the previous week. Flatbed load posts held steady while truck posts increased 11%. At $2.15 per mile, the national average flatbed rate increased 1 cent compared to the previous week.

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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