More loads, available capacity help diminish load-to-truck ratios

More loads, available capacity help diminish load-to-truck ratios

An 11% increase in the number of posted loads and a 31% gain in available capacity helped push spot load-to-truck ratios down for all three equipment types during the week ending September 19, 2015, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

A more significant climb in available loads is typical for the first full work week after Labor Day.

Van load availability rose 5.3%, which actually indicates a decline in demand; comparing a five-day work week with a four-day week, a 20 to 25% increase is more typical. Van capacity were up for the same reasons, but at a higher rate (up 31.1%). The resulting load-to-truck ratio decreased 19.7% to 1.6 loads per truck, meaning there were 1.6 available van loads for every truck posted on the DAT network.

The average van rate fell 2 cents as a national average to $1.75 per mile. Rates were down in most markets, although outbound rates held steady in California.

Flatbed load availability advanced 19% and truck posts increased 31.6% compared with the previous week. The number of flatbed loads available per truck dropped 9.6% to 10.2. Despite the decline in the number of available loads, the national average spot flatbed rate added 1 cent to $2.04 per mile.

Refrigerated load volume rose just 6.4%, well below the norm after a holiday week. Truck posts were more in line with expectations, climbing 26.5%. The reefer load-to-truck ratio shrank 15.9% to 4.4 loads per truck, and the spot reefer rate slipped 1 cent to $2.03 per mile as a national average.

The national average price of diesel fell 3 cents to $2.49 per gallon the week ending September 19. All reported rates include fuel surcharges.

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. 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.

For complete national and regional reports on spot rates and demand, go to

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