Graphic: DAT

Graphic: DAT

Rates on the spot freight market continue crawling slowly upward in the flatbed sector but remain stagnant in the other two major categories.

According to the freight matching service provider DAT Solutions, flatbed rates increased 0.5% to an average of $2.23 per mile April 5 through April 11 compared to the previous seven days. The increase includes a 2 cents jump in the linehaul portion of the rate and a 1-cent decline in the fuel surcharge.

In contrast, the average reefer rate was unchanged and was at $2.15 per mile for the fourth straight week, with no changes in either the linehaul rate or the fuel surcharge. Vans fell 0.5% to $1.91 per mile, its worst showing in the past four weeks, all due to a drop in the linehaul rate last week.

All this happened as the amount of postings on DAT’s load boards fell 6.4% while truck capacity increased 2.6%.

The performance in the freight rates was also reflected in load-to-truck ratios, with it increasing 6.3% for flatbeds to 22.3 to 1, meaning that for every available flatbed truck last week there were 22.3 available loads. The van load-to-truck ratio fell 12% to 3.1 loads per truck while the reefer load-to-truck radio fell 20% to 6.3 loads per truck.

As the second quarter progressed, expect to see a seasonal pickup in freight, according to Peggy Dorf, DAT market analyst.

“Spot market rates already headed back up in March, and will likely continue to trend up in the second quarter, following the typical seasonal pattern,” she said this week in the DAT blog.