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Reefer truckload freight rate reaches four-month high

Reefer truckload freight rate reaches four-month high

The national average spot rate for refrigerated truckload freight gained 2 cents to $1.99/mile during the week ending May 13, 2017, the highest weekly average rate in four months, reported DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

The national average van rate was down 2 cents at $1.68/mile, while the average flatbed rate fell 1 cent to $2.08/mile. Overall, the number of load posts edged down 2% the week ending May 13 while truck posts were up 2%. That led to lower or flat load-to-truck ratios:

•Reefer ratio: 6.1, down 6% after a nice uptick the previous week

•Van ratio: 3.3 loads per truck, unchanged

•Flatbed ratio: 36.9, down 6%

Reefer trends—Nationally, the number of available refrigerated loads declined 1% while truck posts increased 5%. On the top 72 lanes for spot reefer freight, 51 lanes had higher rates the week ending May 13—despite uneven production out of Florida, shipping gaps in California and a drop in volumes in markets near the Mexican border.

Reefer lanes to watch:

—Los Angeles CA-Denver CO, $2.84/mile, up 29 cents

—Grand Rapids MI-Cleveland OH, $3.10/mile, down 4 cents

—McAllen TX-Dallas TX, $2.54/mile, up 3 cents

—Atlanta GA-Chicago IL, $1.72/mile, up 18 cents

—Elizabeth NJ-Boston MA, $3.58/mile, up 23 cents

Miami outbound faded, but high demand from Lakeland buoyed rates in Florida. Lakeland FL-Baltimore MD surged 40 cents to $2.68/mile on average. Two reefer markets to watch in California: Fresno, where the average outbound rate jumped 12 cents to $2.14/mile; and Los Angeles, also up 12 cents, at $2.57/mile.

Van trends—Nationally, the number of posted van loads and trucks each rose 1%. No major van markets made big moves, but outbound rates in Houston TX ($1.76/mile, up 3 cents) and Los Angeles ($2.01/mile, unchanged) have both improved by 5% over the past month.

Van trend to watch: The average length of haul in the van market decreased the week ending May 13, so the larger rate increases were generally on shorter, regional lanes:

—Atlanta-Charlotte NC, $2.40/mile, up 23 cents

—Philadelphia PA-Boston, $3.18/mile, up 16 cents (but remember, return loads are hard to come by and they generally don’t pay well)

—Houston-New Orleans LA, $2.53/mile, up 15 cents

—Memphis TN-Indianapolis IN, $1.89/mile, up 12 cents

The biggest van rate declines the week ending May 13 were on long-haul lanes. Intermodal companies have also been competing for market share lately with aggressive pricing, which has pushed truckload rates lower on longer lanes that compete with rail.

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

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