Freight availability on the spot truckload freight market fell 4.5% and capacity increased 10% during the week ending February 14, 2015, reports DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.
Rates continued to drift downward, however, marking three straight weeks of declines across all three equipment categories.
Some key metrics from DAT Trendlines for the week:
•Rates slide—The national average flatbed rate dropped 2 cents to $2.12 per mile. Several markets remain strong for carriers, including Los Angeles CA at an average of $2.43 per mile; Rock Island IL, $2.60 per mile; Houston TX, $2.41 per mile; Memphis TN, $2.78 per mile; and Harrisburg PA, $3.29 per mile.
After losing 7 cents the previous week, the national average van rate fell 1 cent to $1.86 per mile including fuel surcharge, which was unchanged. Countering the national trend, the average outbound rate rose in Buffalo NY, up 5 cents to $1.94 per mile, likely due to harsh weather.
The national average reefer rate slipped another cent per mile to $2.10 as line-haul rates drift down seasonally. Reefer rates across the West were down, with Los Angeles losing 14 cents to $2.54 per mile.
•Capacity recovers—The number of van loads posted on the DAT Network retreated 6.6% while available van capacity rose 10% compared with the previous week. The van load-to-truck ratio was down 15% to 2.1 loads per truck, meaning there were 2.1 van loads posted for every available van on DAT load boards the week ending February 14.
Flatbed load availability gained 2.5% and truckload capacity advanced 8.2% for the week. The load-to-truck ratio dipped to 11.1 loads per truck, a 5.4% loss.
Demand for reefers gave back 11% for the week, and capacity added 8.9%, reversing the previous week’s brief trend. The resulting load-to-truck ratio declined 18% to 6.2 reefer loads per truck.
Load-to-truck ratios represent the number of loads posted for every truck available on DAT load boards. The load-to-truck ratio is a sensitive, real-time indicator of the balance between spot market demand and capacity. Changes in the ratio often signal impending changes in rates.
Rates are derived from DAT RateView, which provides real-time reports on prevailing spot market and contract rates, as well as historical rate and capacity trends. For complete national and regional reports on spot rates and demand, access www.dat.com/Trendlines.