Despite seasonal volume, spot freight shows vigor

Despite seasonal volume, spot freight shows vigor

Spot truckload freight volume continued a seasonal decline, falling 12% during the week ending January 28, 2017, said DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Unlike this time in 2016, spot freight activity did not drop off sharply toward the end of January. The national average van and refrigerated freight rates each retreated 1 cent per mile while the national average flatbed rate gained 1 cent.

There was 4.8% more available capacity.

Reefer trends—While volumes actually improved on the top 72 lanes for refrigerated freight, the reefer load-to-truck ratio sunk a full 20% to 5.3 nationally as the number of posted reefer loads was down 14% and capacity rose 8%. The average reefer rate lost 1 cent to $1.97/mile.

No single market or region is driving produce freight right now, so volumes are shifting around the nation. The big swings occurred in the Midwest the week ending January 28. The average rate from Grand Rapids MI–Madison WI climbed 31 cents to $2.71/mile, while Green Bay WI–Des Moines IA paid 13 cents better at $2.20/mile.

Green Bay and Grand Rapids also happened to have two of the biggest declines the week ending January 28. Green Bay–Joliet IL was down 31 cents to $2.92/mile, and Grand Rapids-Atlanta GA lost 25 cents to an average of $2.12/mile.

Van trends—Van load posts were 9% lower the week ending January 28 and truck posts increased 4%, which sent the load-to-truck ratio down 13% to 2.5 loads per truck. The national average van rate edged down 1 cent to $1.69/mile and slipped again in key markets:

•Los Angeles CA, $1.95/mile, down 3 cents

•Chicago IL, $2.01/mile, down 6 cents

•Houston TX, $1.54/mile, unchanged

•Atlanta GA, $1.88/mile, down 1 cent

•Buffalo NY, $1.94/mile, down 3 cents

While Houston was one of a few major markets where prices did not decline the week ending January 28, outbound lanes from Dallas fell off the pace:

•Dallas-Chicago paid an average of $1.13/mile, a penny lower

•Dallas-Houston dropped 6 cents to $2.09/mile

Flatbed trends—Flatbed load posts declined 15% and truck posts gained 3%. The load-to-truck ratio decreased 17% to 18.1 loads per truck, and the national average rate actually gained a penny to $1.91/mile.

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.

All reported rates include fuel surcharges. At $2.56/gallon, the average price of on-highway diesel dropped another 4 cents the week ending January 28.

For the latest spot market load availability and rate information, go to

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.