The amount of freight available on one spot network moved slightly higher last week, but it was only enough to push rates up a little bit in one sector.

According to DAT Solutions, the 2.9% increase in available freight on its network of load boards the first week in August compared to the week before came as truck capacity inched up by 0.6%.

Reefer rates increased an average of 0.9% to $2.15 per mile despite a drop in the fuel surcharge. However, on its website the company cautioned the 15% drop in the load-to-truck radio to 12.3 available loads per truck “could signal price adjustments in the coming weeks.”

Meantime, the national refrigerated rate plunged 3.8% to $2.05 per mile despite reefer load postings increasing 8.5%. This pushed the reefer load-to-truck ratio higher by 9.7% to 4.7 available loads per truck.

The average van rate gave up 1.6% over the past week to $1.79 per truck, due mainly to a decline in the fuel surcharge – its worst showing out of the previous four weeks. This surprisingly happened as the van ratio increased 8.3% to 1.9 available loads per truck as load posts increased 5% while truck posts fell 3%. The jump in the load-to-truck ratio can be an indicator of impending freight rate increases.

In the DAT blog, Senior Vice President of Sales and Business Development Dan Thornton said spot market freight volume is soft and capacity is loose.

“Large truckload carriers are raising their prices, but spot market rates are down. There are more freight brokers entering the market than there were last year,” he wrote.

However, Thornton also said these and other emerging trends could be opportunities in disguise.

Read more about it in the DAT Blog.