National average spot truckload rates rose for all three equipment types during the holiday-shortened week ending June 3, 2017, with reefer and flatbed rates hitting their highest marks in nearly two years, reported DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.
The national refrigerated rate gained 3 cents to $2.04/mile, the highest since September 2015. The average van rate was up 5 cents to $1.73/mile, with rates higher on 71 of the top 100 van lanes. For flatbeds, the average rate climbed 2 cents to $2.12/mile, the highest since August 2015.
Overall, the number of load posts for week ending June 3 fell 9.2% compared with a typical 20% decline for a four-day workweek. Truck posts were off 19%, which helped move national average load-to-truck ratios higher for vans and flatbeds:
•Reefer ratio—7.6, down 2%
•Van ratio—5.1 loads per truck, up 22%
•Flatbed ratio—38.8, up 13%
Reefer trends—Reefer load posts declined 13% and truck posts dropped 11%, but again not the expected 20% for a shorter week. The trend to watch: freight in transition. Markets that were previously hot, like Florida, are slowing while the bulk of California freight has yet to hit the spot market. Texas is still ahead of California for overall reefer loads, but the gap is narrowing.
Crop production is rising in the Northwest, so reefer rates decreased on inbound lanes like Sacramento CA-Portland OR. Those rates were down 30 cents to an average of $2.72/mile.
Asparagus, beans and peas are shipping out of western Michigan, and reefer rates on the lane from Grand Rapids MI-Philadelphia PA jumped 47 cents to $3.17/mile.
Peak season in Florida has ended, so outbound reefer rates are starting their descent. Lakeland FL-Atlanta GA lost 36 cents at $1.95/mile while Miami FL-Elizabeth NJ dropped 27 cents to $2.10/mile. Expect rates to fall more in the coming weeks.
Van trends—Nationally, the number of available van loads slipped just 4% while van posts declined 21%. On most major van markets, rates were higher:
•Los Angeles CA, $2.17/mile, up 6 cents
•Chicago IL, $1.99/mile, up 5 cents
•Columbus OH, $1.99/mile, up 8 cents
•Dallas TX, $1.77/mile, up 4 cents
•Atlanta, $2.08/mile, up 6 cents
•Philadelphia, $1.70/mile, up 5 cents
Some key indicators: higher rates out of Memphis TN and Columbus suggest that retail traffic is moving, and higher rates out of Dallas and Seattle WA show the improvement is wide-reaching.
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. For the latest spot market load availability and rate information, go to www.dat.com/trendlines.