Spot market freight rates have improved to start the month of May. Source: DAT Solutions

Spot market freight rates have improved to start the month of May. Source: DAT Solutions

Spot truckload freight rates moved higher in all three categories over the past week, according to the freight matching services provider DAT Solutions, amid an increase in loads and a decline in truck capacity.

The number of spot market loads on the DAT network rose 1.3% and truck posts fell 1%, reflecting stronger shipper demand for the week ending May 5, according to DAT.

National average rates, which include fuel surcharges, for all three equipment types responded and shifted higher compared to the previous week as the average cost of diesel moved up just 0.3% to $3.17 per gallon.

  • Van: $2.18 per mile, up 2 cents over the past week and 48 cents higher than a year ago.
  • Flatbed: $2.72 per mile, up 7 cents. This is the highest flatbed rate ever recorded by DAT.
  • Refrigerated: $2.48 per mile, up 6 cents. This rate is 5 cents above the April average and 51 cents higher than a year ago.

Further recapping the month of April, spot truckload freight availability was 3.9% higher compared to March and 100% higher year-over-year. Available truck capacity increased 2.2% compared to March and 7.5% compared to April 2017.

Van load posts increased 1% last week while van posts increased 3%. That caused the van load-to-truck ratio to gain 1% to 6.2 to 1. Key markets include:

  • Los Angeles: $2.42 per mile, up 7 cents on a 2.8% increase in volume
  • Memphis: $2.67 per mile, up 9 cents with a 3.3% volume increase

Also, several van lanes showed improved rates:

  • Memphis to Columbus, Ohio: $2.76 per mile, up 19 cents
  • Atlanta to Philadelphia: $2.95 per mile, up 14 cents
  • Charlotte to Buffalo: $2.94 per mile, up 17 cents

Nationally, the level of flatbed load posts was unchanged while truck posts declined 3%. The flatbed load-to-truck ratio increased 3% to 111 to 1, which ties the record set during the first week of April. The flatbed load-to-truck ratio has been above 100 to 1 for six weeks in a row.

Reefer load posts increased 10% while truck posts declined 2%, which sent the national reefer load-to-truck ratio up 12% to 9.2 loads per truck. With produce harvests heating up, there were sizeable gains in average outbound rates in three major reefer markets over the past week.

  • Los Angeles, $3.02 per mile, up 11 cents
  • Miami, $3.06 per mile, up 59 cents
  • Lakeland, Florida, $2.43 per mile, up 40 cents