According to DAT Freight & Analytics, August’s spot truckload rates almost set an all-time high, with spot van, refrigerated and flatbed rates higher month over month and load-to-truck ratios increasing at the end of summer.
The DAT Truckload Volume Index rose 1.1% from last month and was 0.8% higher than August 2019.
“Volatility in shipper networks due to shifting consumer purchasing spilled over to the spot market. For instance, commercial food service is way down, but grocery purchases are up,” said Ken Adamo, chief of analytics at DAT. “Asset-based carriers continued to honor their committed volumes but didn’t necessarily provide additional surge capacity. As a result, the number of available loads increased and prices rose to attract additional capacity.”
August load-to-truck ratio for vans rose for the fourth straight month with 5.3 available loads for every available truck on the DAT network, making it 20% higher compared to July and more than double the ratio last August. The spot van rate averaged $2.22 per mile, up 19 cents compared to July and 41 cents higher than a year ago.
Spot reefer volumes were down 5% month over month, but still more than five times higher than April’s record low of 1.7 loads per truck. The national average reefer spot rate was $2.44 per mile, up 14 cents compared to July, and 30 cents higher year-over-year.
Additionally, flatbed load-to-truck ratio averaged 31.5 in August, the highest since July 2018, while flatbed volumes were down 6.3% compared to July and 16.4% down from August 2019. The national average flatbed spot rate was $2.30 per mile, 10 cents higher than July and 11 cents higher than August 2019.
According to DAT’s Freight Outlook, the ongoing weather throughout the country and wildfires along the West Coast will impact supply chains and disrupt freight networks to create a higher-rate environment caused by constraints on capacity.