The spot truckload freight market followed seasonal patterns during the week ending April 4 as load availability increased and capacity tightened, according to load board operator DAT Solutions.

The overall number of available loads rose 3.2% from the previous week against a 1% decrease in posted capacity.

The national average rate for flatbed freight increased 5.4% to $2.22 per mile, reflecting a 5-cent uptick in the linehaul portion of the rate and a 2-cent drop in the fuel surcharge. 

Regionally, average flatbed rates out of Pittsburgh rose 27 cents to $2.36 per mile and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania added 20 cents to $3.59 per mile. Southeastern markets stayed strong as Tampa jumped 23 cents to $1.63 per mile while Jacksonville, fell 1 cent but registered $2.71 a mile.

Flatbed load availability was up 9% last week while capacity also added 3.4%. The load-to-truck ratio rose 5% from 19.9 to 20.9 loads per truck, meaning that for every available flatbed truck last week there were that many available loads.

Demand for refrigerated equipment slipped 0.8% while available capacity increased 1.9%, which pushed the reefer load-to-truck ratio down from 8.2 to 7.9. The national average rate for reefer freight was unchanged at $2.15 per mile while outbound freight in Green Bay was much higher at $2.83 per mile but it was just $1.69 per mile out of Lakeland, Florida.

The national average spot rate for van loads was $1.92 per mile last week, down 1% due to a decline in the fuel surcharge. The linehaul portion of the rate has been unchanged for four weeks.

Average van rates out of Los Angeles and Atlanta were better than $2 per mile while those out of Philadelphia and Dallas were at $1.85 and $1.72, respectively.

Van freight availability slipped 0.5%, with reduced activity at the end of the week due to Good Friday and the start of a new fiscal quarter, according to DAT. Truckload capacity fell 2.9%, boosting the van load-to-truck ratio 3.5% from 3.4 to 3.5 loads per truck.