Spot Truckload Freight Volumes Surge, Rates Remain Strong

December 5, 2017

By Evan Lockridge

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Spot truckload freight volumes surged after Thanksgiving, as the number of loads posted on the DAT network of load boards jumped 64% for the week ending Dec. 2, according to newly release figures.

The large increase in loads and the 22% jump in truck postings is in line with expectations when you compare a long week to a shorter workweek, according to the freight-matching service provider. Also, strong demand for capacity pushed average national spot rates, including fuel surcharges, unseasonably high with vans and reefers averaging three-year highs in November.

  • Reefer: $2.43 per mile, unchanged compared to the previous week
  • Van: $2.09 per mile, up 2 cents from last week
  • Flatbed: $2.30 per mile, up 1 cent from the week earlier

In the reefer market, the number of load posts jumped 55% while truck posts increased 12% last week, propelling the reefer load-to-truck ratio up 40% to 13.2 loads per truck. Several outbound reefer markets experienced double-digit average rate increases:

  • Los Angeles, $2.14 per mile, up 25 cents
  • Dallas, $2.31 per mile, up 10 cents
  • Philadelphia, $3.17 per mile, up 25 cents
  • McAllen, Texas $2.23 per mile, up 21 cents

Van load post activity increased 68% and truck posts gained 23% as retail goods made their way across the country from West to East. The van load-to-truck ratio jumped 37% from 6.8 to 9.3 loads per truck and rates moved higher in Midwest and Eastern U.S. markets as shippers position holiday freight near major population centers.

The average outbound van rate from Columbus, Ohio, added 9 cents to $2.66 per mile, Philadelphia gained 4 cents to $2.05 per mile, and Dallas increased a penny to $1.89per mile last week.

Flatbed load and truck posts increased, as expected, following the Thanksgiving holiday. The number of load posts gained 67% and truck posts 42%, which caused the load-to-truck ratio to rise 18% to 30.6 loads per truck.

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