Urgency to move freight before the end of the second quarter and ahead of the Fourth of July holiday helped propel the national average spot van rate to $2.32 per mile during the week ending June 30, according to DAT Solutions.

This matched the average contract rate and set a new national high for both rate averages. Last week’s national average spot van rate was 17 cents higher than the average van rate four weeks earlier.

In contrast, the national average reefer rate fell a penny to $2.69 per mile and the flatbed rate increased 1 cent to $2.82 per mile on the DAT network of load boards.

The number of van load posts and truck posts remained the same as the previous week, which kept the load-to-truck ratio unchanged at 9.2 loads per truck.

Weekly average spot rates increased more than 2% in 12 of the 14 top van markets, including:

  • Memphis: $3.25 per mile, up 20 cents
  • Atlanta: $2.95 per mile, up 15 cents
  • Los Angeles: $3.16 per mile, up 9 cents
  • Columbus, Ohio: $2.75 per mile, up 8 cents
  • Chicago: $2.69 per mile, up 8 cents

The national load-to-truck ratio for flatbeds remains high but it fell for the third week in a row, down to 68.6 loads per truck, the lowest ratio since February. That was due to a 8% decline in load posts and a 5% increase in truck posts.

Reefer load posts on DAT load boards rose 6% while truck posts increased 2% last week. That caused the load-to-truck ratio to increase from 12.7 to 13.2 reefer loads per truck.

Rates last week were driven by seasonal demand as well as the need to move higher volumes of refrigerated and frozen goods ahead of the Independence Day holiday. The average outbound rate from Los Angeles gained 9 cents to $3.71 per mile, reflecting the need for reefer capacity in California, while several regional lanes also made gains:

  • Atlanta to Philadelphia: $4.08 per mile, up 57 cents
  • Green Bay to Wilmington, Delaware: $4.12 per mile, up 6 cents
  • Elizabeth, New Jersey, to Boston: $4.90 per mile, up 25 cents
  • Dallas to Houston: $3.61 per mile, up 28 cents

DAT noted that June is the traditional peak for reefer rates, so expect prices to begin to retreat in July, though that might happen at a much slower pace than usual.