Spot truckload load volume rose sharply and capacity tightened during the past week, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

The overall number of loads posted increased 7.5% July 27 through Aug. 2 compared to the previous week, while the number of available trucks decreased 7.4%. Rates were slightly downward as a national average, masking big changes in individual markets and lanes.

The national average van rate fell 1 0.5% to $2.06 per mile, including fuel surcharge, on the spot market. Load availability rose 6.9% while posted capacity declined 7.7% for the week. The national van load-to-truck ratio jumped 16%, meaning there were 3.1 loads posted for every truck available on DAT load boards. 

The national average reefer rate dipped 0.4% to $2.35 per mile, a strong rate historically. The number of posted refrigerated loads increased 7.9% and capacity decreased 5.2% compared to the previous week. The resulting refrigerated load-to-truck ratio was up 14% to 8.9 loads per truck.

Flatbed rates were unchanged as a national average at $2.44 per mile. Load availability increased 6% while capacity declined 7.1%. The resulting load-to-truck ratio rose 14% compared to the previous week, from 31.9 to 36.4 loads per truck.

DAT Analyst Mark Montague said a few days ago on the DAT Freight Talk Blog that rates are drifting down, which is typical for this time of the year. 

“This pattern is likely to continue for a few more weeks, and then I'm betting we will see a second peak in late August through much of September,” he said. “Of course, freight availability and rates could plateau instead, but a number of recent news items fuel my sense of optimism.”