The number of loads on the spot truckload freight market surged 7.6% during the week ending March 3 as rates appear poised to rebound, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Truck posts declined 2% which helped push load-to-truck ratios higher from the previous week for all three trailer types.

  • Vans: 7.0 loads per truck, up 5%
  • Flatbeds: 79.9 loads per truck, up 13%
  • Reefers: 10.6 loads per truck, up 15%

After seven weeks of declines, the national average spot van rate was unchanged at $2.14 per mile but rates rose on 66 of the top 100 van lanes. Van load posts increased 4% while truck posts declined 1%. The current van load-to-truck ratio is about three times higher than it was at this time last year.

The national average reefer rate fell 3 cents to $2.40 per mile but the number of available loads was 11% higher than the previous week and truck posts declined 3%. Reefer load counts are roughly equal to where they were in mid-January.

Flatbed rates rose 4 cents to an average of $2.39 per mile, an increase for the fourth straight week. Capacity continued to tighten and the load-to-truck ratio for flatbeds hit its highest point in years. Extremely strong markets include Atlanta, Birmingham, Memphis, Green Bay, and Cleveland.

According to DAT, capacity may tighten in the weeks ahead with the end of the first quarter of the year coinciding with both Easter weekend and the April 1 end of the phase-in period for the electronic logging device mandate.

All reported rates include fuel surcharges. The national average diesel price during the reporting period dropped another 1.5 cents to $2.99 per gallon.