Spot market freight rates have improved over the past week, though some more than others, according to the freight matching service provider DAT Solutions.
Reefers posted the biggest gain, 1.1%, for Nov. 23 through Nov. 29 compared to the previous seven days, for an average of $2.37 per mile, its best showing out of the last four weeks. The gain was possibly due to heightened demand and bad weather, according to DAT.
Vans gained nearly as much, 1%, for an average of $2.05 per mile, also its best performance out of the past four weeks.
Flatbeds barely edged higher, 0.1%, but the average rate was unchanged from the week before at $2.31 per mile, as winter is typically a slow season for the sector, according to DAT.
The increases came as overall spot market loads available to haul fell 20% but it were outweighed by a bigger 25% decline in spot market truck capacity.
Also load-to-truck ratios increased in two of the three categories, with vans jumping 21% to 4.4 loads available per truck, as truckload van capacity fell 26%. Flatbeds also improved, but not as much, increasing 4.5% to 16.8 loads available per truck as capacity fell by nearly a third.
In contrast, the reefer load-to-truck ratio fell 7.9% to 11.6 loads per truck due to a 24% decrease in demand for reefers on the spot market coupled with a 17% decline in available capacity.
According to DAT Analyst Mark Montague, writing for company’s Freight Talk Blog, overall spot market rates this year are up 10% from 2013. While this may not seem like a huge hike, he notes it is when you consider from 1983 to 1997 spot market rates on many popular routes barely changed.