Spot truckload freight rates and volume saw no improvements for the week ending May 21 compared to the previous week, according to DAT Solutions and network of load boards. However, load-to-truck ratios increased and diesel prices have been rising sharply, an indication that spot rates may pick up soon.

The number of spot market load posts fell 4%, driven by a 6% drop in flatbed load volume. Fewer truck posts compared to the previous week helped boost load-to-truck ratios across all three equipment types. The van ratio gained 1%, to 1.7 loads per truck, the reefer ratio increased 18% to 3.3 to 1, while the flatbed ratio was up 5% to 15.4 to 1. Load-to-truck ratios measure the number of loads posted for each available truck on the DAT network.

The national average van rate fell 1 cent to $1.53 per mile as the reefer rate declined by the same amount to $1.87 per mile. The flatbed rate was unchanged at $1.91 per mile for the third week in a row. All reported rates include fuel surcharges.

On a more encouraging note, spot reefer rates rose on more than half of the highest-volume lanes, according to DAT.

The high-dollar market in each region are:

  • West: Los Angeles, $2.41 per mile, unchanged
  • Midwest: Grand Rapids, Mich., $2.39 per mile, up 2 cents
  • South Central: McAllen, Texas, $1.88 per mile, down 1 cent
  • Southeast: Miami, $2.06 per mile, unchanged
  • Northeast: Philadelphia, $2.16 per mile, down 9 cents

Atlanta and Lakeland, Fla., are still the number one and two for reefer load posts on DAT's load boards, respectively, though volumes slipped a bit in Central Florida.

In the dry van market volume was up in Houston, the country’s number two market for van load posts on DAT load boards following Atlanta. Chicago’s average outbound rate fell 2 cents to $1.71 per mile. However, DAT said rail competition is killing the lane from Chicago to L.A. with the average spot van falling another 14 cents from the week before to just $1.05 per mile.