While Hurricane Harvey hit on Friday, Aug. 25, its effect on supply chains and spot truckload rates won’t be fully reflected until a week later, according to freight matching service provider DAT Solutions, which reported spot truckload rates were stable for the seven day period ending Aug. 26.
DAT reported there was a continuation of unusually high demand for truckload capacity during the week, falling just 1.8% from the week before, as the number of posted loads increased 1%, according to its load boards
Van load posts increased 6% and truck posts declined 1%; flatbed load posts declined 7% while truck posts dipped 3%; and reefer load posts increased 5% and truck posts fell 2%. Reefer volumes continue to tick up, with reefer demand being especially strong in the Upper Midwest.
Load-to-truck ratios rose 7% for vans, hitting 5.2 to 1, while reefers increased 7% to 10 to 1. The flatbed ratio fell 4% to 26.5 to 1. Of course, all this could change once the current week is in the books with relief supplies heading to the flooding zone.
National average rates were unchanged compared to the previous week, with vans at $1.78 per mile, flatbeds at $2.18 per mile and reefers at $2.07 per mile. All rates include fuel surcharges.
During this time the national average on-highway diesel price added a penny to $2.61 per gallon. Fuel prices are likely to rise more in the coming weeks because so many refineries are offline in Houston, however diesel prices have failed to spike like they did following Hurrican Katrina in 2004.
In Houston, the average outbound van rate was up a penny to $1.69 per mile, with the bulk of activity taking place before the weekend. Looking ahead, spot rates are expected to rise for loads heading into Houston and staging areas for relief freight including San Antonio, Dallas, and Lafayette, La, according to DAT.
It cautioned carriers will want to account for delays unloading, road obstructions, and traffic, as well as the difficulty finding loads leaving those markets. This includes moving loads for FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency. You can read more about moving FEMA loads from the DAT website.