Spot rates fall as diesel slides below $2

Spot market load availability gained 0.8% during the week ending February 13, 2016, while capacity added 1.2%, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

With the national average diesel price falling below $2 per gallon, truckload rates on the spot market continued on a downward trend. Freight brokers usually quote a one-time price that includes both a linehaul portion and the fuel surcharge; declining fuel prices influence spot market rates significantly.

The number of van load posts fell 6% the week ending February 13 while truck posts increased 1% compared with the previous week. The van load-to-truck ratio decreased 6% from 1.4 to 1.3 loads per truck, meaning there were 1.3 van loads for every truck posted on the DAT network. The national average van rate dropped 4 cents the week ending February 13 to $1.58 per mile.

Reefer load volume lost 7% and truck posts added 3% the week ending February 13. As a result, the reefer load-to-truck ratio sunk 9% from 3.4 to 3.1 loads per truck. The national average reefer rate held steady at $1.85 per mile. Flatbed load volume was up 10% while capacity increased less than 1%. Despite a 10% rise in the flatbed load-to-truck ratio (from 8.7 to 9.6 loads per truck), the national average flatbed rate dipped 2 cents to $1.83 per mile the week ending February 13.

Average 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.

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, see www.dat.com/Trendlines.

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