National average spot truckload rates drifted down during the week ending April 18 compared to the previous week, according to new figures from DAT Solutions and its network of load boards.

The average rate for vans fell 1% to $1.89 per mile, its worst showing out of the past four weeks.

Flatbeds declined 1.3% to 2.20 per mile after moving higher at least for two straight weeks.

Reefers gave up 1.4% compared to the previous week for $2.12 per mile after being 3 cents higher for three consecutive weeks.

Overall, available truck capacity increased 4.1% while freight availability fell 2.1%, which accounts for the falling rates, according to DAT.

There were 2.8% fewer van loads and 4.1% more trucks available compared to the previous week, pushing the national van load-to-truck ratio down 6.6% from 3.1 to 2.9 loads per truck.

Flatbed load availability was near steady, down just 0.6%, while capacity gained 3.7%, causing the sector’s load-to-truck ratio to fall 5.4% from 22.3 to 21.1 flatbed loads per truck.

Demand for reefers fell another 3.9% last week while reefer capacity added 3.7%. Despite this, the reefer load-to-truck ratio slipped 7.3% from 6.3 to 5.9 loads per truck.

Load-to-truck ratios represent the number of loads posted for every truck available on DAT load boards. The load-to-truck ratio is a sensitive, real-time indicator of the balance between spot market demand and capacity, according to DAT.