National average spot freight rates for dry vans and reefers each slipped slightly over the past week while the average flatbed rate made a small gain for the third consecutive week, according to new figures from DAT Solutions, based on its network of load boards.

This happened as the number of available loads on the spot truckload market fell 5.3% for the week ending July 23 as freight volumes settled into in a typical mid-July lull.

The van load-to-truck ratio fell slightly to 2.5 loads per truck on a 5% decline in the number of posted loads. The national average van rate lost a penny to $1.65 per mile after peaking at $1.70 two weeks ago.

Regionally, markets with highest average rates all recorded losses:

  • Southeast: Charlotte, N.C., $1.95 per mile, down 10 cents
  • West: Los Angeles, $2.11 per mile, down 3 cents
  • Midwest: Chicago, $1.88 per mile, down 1 cent
  • South Central: Dallas, $1.58 per mile, down 2 cents
  • Northeast: Allentown, Pa., $2.00 per mile, down 4 cents

The number of reefer load posts dropped 8% last week while truck posts held steady, causing an 8% drop in the reefer load-to-truck ratio to 4.3 loads per truck. The national average spot reefer rate dipped 2 cents to $1.96 mile after a high of $2.02 two weeks ago.

Major western reefer markets lost ground, including Los Angeles, down 6 cents to $2.51 per mile, and Fresno, down 6 cents to $2.05 per mile. Reefer prices also fell in the Southeast last week, with Lakeland, Fla. declining 9 cents to $1.33 per mile while markets in the Northeast slumped, including a 5-cent drop to $1.67 per mile out of Elizabeth, N.J. and a 10-cent fall to $2.18 per mile out of Philadelphia.

The number of flatbed load posts dipped 5% and capacity declined 7% last week. This helped push the flatbed load-to-truck ratio up 3% to 13.7 loads per truck as the average rate increased 2 cents to $1.91 per mile.