The number of trucks on the spot truckload freight market did not keep pace with demand from shippers wanting to move goods before the end of the first quarter and the start of Easter holidays, sending rates and load-to-truck ratios higher.

Truck capacity on DAT network of load boards fell 3.1% while the number of loads jumped 3.5% during the week ending March 31, which included Good Friday, when freight traffic is typically low.

Van and refrigerated load-to-truck ratios remained solid and the flatbed segment hit another record high.

  • Flatbed ratio: 101.5  available loads per truck, up from 87.7 the previous week
  • Van ratio: 7.2, up from 6.9
  • Reefer ratio: 10.4, virtually unchanged from 10.5

During this time national average spot truckload rates changed little as vans moved up 2 cents to $2.15 per mile while flatbeds gained a penny for $2.53 per mile. Reefers were unchanged for the fifth straight week at $2.40 per mile. All reported rates include fuel surcharges.

In the flatbed sector, after a 5.6% increase in load volume the previous week, freight availability jumped 7% while capacity fell 7.5%. The flatbed load-to-truck ratio increased 16% and has risen steadily since November, when it was as low as 26.

The number of available van loads increased 1% while truck posts declined 3%. Spot rates were higher on 65 of DAT’s Top 100 van lanes, and the national average rate increased for the fifth consecutive week. Key van markets included:

  • Los Angeles: $2.32 per mile, up 3 cents compared to the previous week. The average outbound rate has increased 5.2% over the past four weeks
  • Dallas: $2.08 per mile, up 5 cents
  • Memphis: $2.68 per mile, up 6 cents

Heading into Easter weekend, the number of reefer load posts dipped 1.2% while truck posts fell 2%. Reefer rates were lower on 37 of the top 70 reefer lanes. Pricing from the Southeast and West showed that shippers in the Southeast and West have produce to move, according to DAT.

Other reefer lanes worth noting include:

  • Miami-Baltimore, up 24 cents from the week before to $2.28 per mile
  • Los Angeles-Portland, Oregon, up 21 cents to $2.96 per mile
  • McAllen, Texas-Elizabeth, New Jersey, up 20 cents to $2.64 per mile, back to where the rate was three weeks ago
  • Imperial Valley (Ontario, Calif.)-Chicago, up 29 cents to $2.14 per mile