Spot truckload rates soften for refrigerated, van freight

Spot truckload rates soften for refrigerated, van freight

A 7.7% gain in spot truckload freight volume and a 2.1% dip in capacity were not enough to buoy spot truckload rates during the week ending February 4, 2017, said DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

The national average flatbed rate showed a modest gain while refrigerated and van freight rates both fell the week ending February 4. These rates for each trailer type remain higher than they were in February 2016, however.

Reefer trends—The reefer load-to-truck ratio dropped 3% to 5.2 nationally as the number of available loads declined 5% and capacity was down 3%. The average reefer rate lost 6 cents to $1.91/mile, continuing a pattern of weekly post-holiday declines.

Van trends—The spot market for vans was steady the week ending February 4 as the number of load posts increased less than 1% and truck posts retreated 2%. The load-to-truck ratio gained 3% to 2.6 loads per truck and the national average rate slipped 3 cents lower to $1.66/mile.

Outbound rates decreased in many major markets:

•Dallas TX, $1.51/mile, down 1 cent

•Atlanta GA, $1.85/mile, down 1 cent

•Philadelphia PA, $1.62/mile, unchanged

•Chicago IL, $1.96/mile, down 5 cents

•Los Angeles CA, $1.90/mile, down 5 cents

In the West, Stockton CA, Seattle WA and Denver CO all slipped 5 cents lower compared with the previous week, and Denver-Chicago dropped below $1 a mile (97 cents/mile, down 2 cents).

Flatbed trends—Flatbed load availability jumped 21% while the number of flatbed truck posts was virtually unchanged. That led to a 21% increase in the flatbed load-to-truck ratio to 21.9 loads per truck nationally. The average flatbed rate edged up 1 cent to $1.92/mile—that’s the third straight week of penny-a-mile rate increases.

Regionally, spot flatbed rates were mixed as several top-paying lanes experienced a drop-off or modest gains:

•Reno NV-Watsonville CA, $3.25/mile, down 43 cents

•Houston TX-Fort Worth TX, $2.13/mile, down 6 cents

•Roanoke VA-Springfield IL, $2.83/mile, unchanged

•Baltimore MD-Springfield, $2.85/mile, down 38 cents

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 was unchanged the week ending February 4.

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

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