The spot truckload freight market returned to seasonal norms during the week ending July 15 as the number of posted loads increased 35% and truck posts added 28%, according to DAT Solutions and its network of load boards.

Higher demand did not lead to higher rates, however, as urgency subsided during the first full week after the Fourth of July holiday. National average spot van, refrigerated, and flatbed rates all settled down.

The top 100 van lanes hit records for volume last week and van load posts increased 21% and truck posts increased 30% nationally. That caused the van load-to-truck ratio to decline 7% to 5 to 1.

The national average van rate fell to $1.83 mile, down 7 cents after a 10-cent gain the week before but still 3 cents higher than the June average.

Prices were lower in the Southeast, South Central, and Northeast regions. Allentown, Pennsylvania, lost 11 cents for an average of $2.03 per mile and Philadelphia dropped 4 cents to $1.70 per mile. All reported rates include fuel surcharges.

Other major van markets also showed declines over the past week:

  • Los Angeles: $2.21 per mile, down 8 cents
  • Charlotte: $2.25 per mile, down 8 cents
  • Atlanta: $2.20 per mile, down 5 cents
  • Dallas: $1.78 per mile, down 6 cents
  • Houston: $1.84 per mile, down 5 cents

Reefer load posts increased 27% week-over-week while truck posts were up 17%. The national load-to-truck ratio increased 8.5% to 9 to 1. The national average rate retreated 5 cents to $2.12 per mile, matching the June average.

Despite the overall decline, the range for reefer rates is wide with outbound freight paying $1.62 per mile from Lakeland, Florida to $2.75 per mile outbound from Green Bay.

Flatbed volumes didn’t slip as expected in the first half of July. Instead, there were 52% more loads posted last week than the week before, and rates are holding up at the highest levels in two years at $2.20 mile, just 1 cent lower from last week.

Truck posts jumped 45%, which caused the load-to-truck ratio to increase 5% to 38 to 1.

Big boosts in volume led to rate increases on a couple of key lanes last week:

  • Memphis-Dallas had more loads and rates were up 30 cents to $3.10 per mile
  • Houston-Oklahoma City volume more than doubled, and rates rose 17 cents to $3.13 mile