Fleet Management

Spot Truckload Rates Drop for Third Straight Week

January 30, 2018

By Evan Lockridge

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Average spot truckload freight rates over the past four weeks. Graphic: DAT
Average spot truckload freight rates over the past four weeks. Graphic: DAT

Spot truckload freight rates continued trickling lower for the third straight week for the week ending Jan. 27, according to new figures release from freight matching service provider DAT Solutions. Despite this drop, rates remained higher than at any point in 2017, based on information from this network of load boards.

The van and flatbed rate each fell 1 cent to $2.26 per mile and $2.39 per mile, respectively. The rate for refrigerated freight decreased 3 cents to $2.67 per mile as produce and other temperature-controlled goods experience a seasonal lull.

Spot load-to-truck ratios have eased off from record highs as the overall number of available loads fell 3% and truck capacity increased 8.3% compared to the previous week.

Van: 8.5 available loads per truck, down from 9.8 the week before

Flatbed: 53.9 loads per truck, unchanged

Refrigerated: 12.8 loads per truck, falling from 12.8 from the previous week

While spot van volumes declined 5% and truck posts increased 10% van rates fell in major markets over the past week

  • Chicago, $2.92 per mile, down 15 cents
  • Columbus, Ohio, $2.78 per mile, down 9 cents
  • Philadelphia, $2.34 per mile, down 10 cents
  • Charlotte, $2.57 per mile, down 5 cents
  • Los Angeles, $2.42 per mile, down 12 cents

In the reefer market, load posts fell 14% and truck posts increased 4%. The national average reefer rate dipped despite strong prices in key markets including

  • Green Bay, $4.18 per mile, up 18 cents
  • McAllen, Texas, $2.95 per mile, down 4 cents
  • Atlanta, $2.89 per mile, down 4 cents
  • Los Angeles, $3.19 per mile, down 13 cents

Spot prices for flatbed freight remain seasonally high. The national average flatbed rate slipped but was buoyed by stronger construction and oilfield activity, according to DAT. The flatbed load-to-truck ratio was unchanged as load posts increased 6% and truck posts also increased 6%.

During this time the national average price of on-highway diesel fuel was $3.03 per gallon, and all U.S. regions are experienced an increase compared to a year ago. Spot truckload freight rates include a fuel surcharge portion.

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