Spot Market Van, Reefer Rates Cool as Flatbeds Rise Again

February 22, 2018

By Evan Lockridge

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National average spot van and refrigerated truckload rates fell during the week ending Feb. 17 but remain well ahead of last year’s levels, according to DAT Solutions and its network of load boards.

The van rate fell 2 cents to $2.15 per mile and reefers dipped 5 cents to $2.45 per mile compared to the previous week. It was the sixth week in a row that the van rate has declined, a normal trend for this time of year. The average is still higher than at any point in 2017.

Volumes are also higher than they were a month ago. The number of available loads increased 1.5% and while trucks increased 1.1%. Load-to-truck ratios shifted slightly:

  • Van: 7.2 available loads per truck, down 2%
  • Flatbed: 64.2 loads per truck, up 4%
  • Reefers: 9.6 loads per truck, down 6%

In the van market, load posts were unchanged and truck posts rose 2%. With a few exceptions, prices were stable out of the major markets for van freight:

  • Chicago, $2.68 per mile, down 3 cents
  • Houston, $1.97 per mile, unchanged
  • Dallas, $1.92 per mile, up 1 cent
  • Memphis, $2.50 per mile, up 1 cent
  • Atlanta, $2.32 per mile, unchanged
  • Los Angeles, $2.17 per mile, down 4 cents

Reefer load posts fell 5% and truck posts edged up 1%. Prices are still unusually high year over year although the current average is 25 cents less than a month ago.

The average flatbed rate was $2.30 per mile, rising for the third straight week. Load posts increased 1% and truck posts fell 3%. Altogether, flatbed volumes have held steady since an uptick at the end of January.

All reported rates include fuel surcharges. The average national cost of diesel fuel during this time was at $3.06 per gallon, down 1% from the week before.

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