Spot market loads and rates are down over the past week according to new figures from the freight matching service provider DAT TransCore.

For the seven days ending June 15, the number of overall loads fell 0.5% from the previous week.

Graphic: DAT TransCore

Graphic: DAT TransCore

Load-to-truck numbers were also down in the three major categories, falling 9.4% for vans, 4.8% for flatbeds and 14% for reefers.

Rates edged lower with the biggest drop being coming from the reefer market, falling 1.7%, to an average of $2.31 per mile. Vans fell a little less, losing 1.1%, registering $1.88 per mile, while flatbed rates gave up 0.9% for an average of $2.15 per mile.

There are a couple of reasons for this says DAT Analyst Mark Montague in his blog. “One finding was that head haul lanes went up and backhaul lanes went down. Head haul lanes, by definition, pay higher-than-average rates. On the route between two cities or markets, one direction typically pays more, because there is more demand and/or less capacity available,” he wrote. “Last week, with fuel prices stable to slightly declining, carriers are seizing the opportunity to earn more on head haul freight. On the return trip, or backhaul, those same carriers can afford to price their services  competitively where freight is less plentiful.”

Another thing that needs to be considered is intermodal, which Montague says is growing faster than overall freight levels.

“If a broker can’t get a truck at the right price, the rails are offering deals to intermodal marketing companies to put freight on the rails,” he wrote. “The broker can buy a door-door rail intermodal move from the IMC. The rails have improved their service and tracking capabilities tremendously in the last decade, which provides the shipper with service that is truck-like, especially in regards to the cubic capacity of the 53-foot container.”