Spot Market Van, Reefer Rates Ease as Flatbeds Hit Two-Year High

October 18, 2017

By Evan Lockridge

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The availability of spot truckload freight fell 10% while the number of trucks posted gained 7% during the week ending Oct. 14, according to DAT Solutions and its network of load boards.

The combination of fewer loads and more available capacity helped send load-to-truck ratios lower compared to the previous week:

  • Van: 5.4 available loads per truck, down 17%
  • Flatbed: 40.9 loads per truck, down 12%
  • Refrigerated: 10.1 loads per truck, down 19%

Spot flatbed load posts declined 7% and truck posts increased 6% as rebuilding efforts in Florida and the Gulf Coast continues to put pressure on the flatbed market.

The national average spot flatbed price climbed again while van and reefer rates dipped. All reported rates include fuel surcharges.

  • Van: $2.07 per mile, down 2 cents but still relatively high
  • Flatbed: $2.33 per mile, up 2 cents to a new two-year high
  • Reefer: $2.36 per mile, down 1 cent

Spot van load posts declined 11% and truck posts increased 7%. Van rates moderated last week but the decline may be short-lived, with volumes surging in California and other Western states, according to DAT. The number one market for van freight was Los Angeles, where the average rate jumped 4 cents to $2.41 per mile. Outbound rates were softer elsewhere:

  • Columbus, Ohio: $2.62 per mile, down 14 cents
  • Buffalo: $2.56 per mile, down 13 cents
  • Dallas: $1.78 per mile, down 1 cent
  •  Houston: $1.75 per mile, unchanged
  • Atlanta: $2.23 per mile, down 6 cents

In the spot reefer market, load posts declined 13% and truck posts increased 7% from the previous week. Florida reefer volumes recovered last week but outbound rates were so low they actually contributed to a drop in the national average reefer rate.

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