National average spot van and flatbed rates fell slightly and the refrigerated rate was unchanged during the week ending Jan. 20 as there were fewer loads and an increase in truck capacity, according to DAT Solutions and its network of load boards.

The amount of available spot market freight declined 3.5% from the week before while the number of trucks looking for loads moved 4.6% higher.

Van and reefer load-to-truck ratios edged down for a second straight week after hitting multi-year peaks in early January:

  • Van load-to-truck ratio: 9.8, down from 10.7 the previous week
  • Reefer ratio: 15.5, down from 18.4
  • Flatbed ratio: 53.9, up from 53.7

Van load posts fell 5% and truck posts increased 4% as the national average spot van rate fell 1 cent to $2.27 per mile. Rates, which include fuel surcharges, were down on most of the top 100 van lanes but stayed elevated in key markets.

  • Dallas, $2.05 per mile, up 2 cents
  • Philadelphia, $2.43 per mile, up 11 cents
  • Chicago, $3.05 per mile, up 5 cents
  • Memphis, $2.61 per mile, up 6 cents

In contrast, Los Angeles dropped 14 cents to $2.53 per mile after losing 16 cents the previous week.

The national average reefer rate was unchanged at $2.70 per mile as load posts fell 10% and truck posts increased 7%.

Capacity was in demand in Northeast hubs where traffic has been affected by winter weather including Philadelphia, at $3.46 per mile, up 16 cents; and Elizabeth, New Jersey, at $2.35 per mile, up 10 cents. Reefer load counts and rates fell off sharply from Nogales, Arizona, as domestic produce begins to displace imports from the U.S.-Mexico border.

Flatbed load posts increased 3%, truck posts were up 2.5% and the national average flatbed rate fell 2 cents to $2.40 per mile. Key regional markets are showing strength:

  • Las Vegas, $2.89 per mile, up 7 cents
  • Phoenix, $2.24 per mile, up 6 cents
  • Savannah, $2.78 per mile, up 5 cents
  • Houston, $2.65 per mile, up 8 cents
  • Harrisburg, $3.76 per mile, up 18 cents
  • Los Angeles, $2.53 per mile, down 14 cents

Flatbed rates were softer in the Midwest last week, including outbound from Rock Island, Illinois, at $3.03 per mile, down 16 cents; and Cleveland at $2.64 per mile, down 10 cents.

The national average price of on-highway diesel fuel remained near a three-year high during this time at $3.03 per gallon.

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