Spot market truckload activity picked up during the week ending April 21, as the number of posted loads increased 3.1% and truck posts rose 4%, according to the freight matching service provider DAT Solutions.

National load-to-truck ratios fell for all three equipment types, which put downward pressure on national average rates for spot van and refrigerated freight compared to the week before:

  • Van: $2.16 per mile, down 5 cents
  • Flatbed: $2.64 per mile, up 1 cent
  • Reefer: $2.42 per mile, down 2 cents

The van load-to-truck ratio dipped from 6.6 to 1 to 6.4 to 1, as load posts decreased 1% and truck posts increased 3%. Overall van trends were balanced, with rates moving higher on 47 of DAT’s top 100 van lanes and lower on 48 lanes, with five lanes neutral.

Key van markets included:

  • Denver, $1.42 per mile, up 3 cents. The average Denver outbound rate was up 5.3% over the past four weeks
  • Stockton, California, $2.07 per mile, up 4 cents
  • Atlanta, $2.39 per mile, down 3 cents due to a stronger Florida market and despite robust outbound volumes

The flatbed market remained solid, as load posts increased 7% and truck posts increased 8%. The national average flatbed rate set another record high at $2.64 per mile. The load-to-truck ratio slipped 1% to 102.2 loads per truck to stay above 100 loads per truck for the fourth week in a row.

After a 15% drop the previous week, the national load-to-truck ratio for reefers fell 11% from 9.4 to 1 to 8.4 to 1. Reefer load posts slipped 5% while truck posts increased 6%.

As is typical for this time of year, reefer freight is highly affected by regional trends. Lanes to watch:

  • Grand Rapids, Michigan, to Philadelphia, $3.85 per mile, up 44 cents
  • Elizabeth, New Jersey, to Boston, $4.32 per mile, up 13 cents
  • Ontario, California, to Phoenix, $3.26 per mile, up 18 cents
  • Atlanta, Georgia, to Lakeland, Florida, $3.25 per mile, unchanged