Spot Truckload Freight Availability Softens, Rates Stay Elevated

National spot truckload rates were neutral or slightly down during the week ending Sept. 22, but remain roughly 20 percent higher year-over-year.

Dat Rtow Sep 22 2018

National spot truckload rates were neutral or slightly down during the week ending Sept. 22, but remain roughly 20 percent higher year-over-year, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

The national average spot van rate fell 1 cent to $2.15 per mile, the refrigerated rate dipped 1 cent to $2.53 per mile, and the flatbed rate declined 2 cents to $2.56 per mile.

The overall number of loads posted decreased last week as road closures and limited access to the Carolinas likely prevented stronger demand from forming. This situation will likely turn around as relief and replenishment supplies move in.

One reason spot rates are higher is the price of fuel. The national average price of on-highway diesel was $3.27 per gallon last week and is 23 percent higher compared to this time last year. Spot rates incorporate a fuel surcharge. 

DATRTOW Tweet Sep222018

Van Trends

The number of van load posts on DAT load boards fell 17 percent, and truck posts dropped 21 percent compared to the previous week. That resulted in a 5 percent increase in the national load-to-truck ratio, moving up to 7 loads per truck. Van rates increased on several lanes from the Northeast and Southeast into Charlotte, including Philadelphia to Charlotte, which jumped 21 cents to $2 per mile compared to the previous week.  

Reefer Trends

Reefer load posts declined 19 percet, while truck posts fell 21 percent last week. That resulted in a 3 percent increase in the load-to-truck ratio, from 7.7 to 8 loads per truck. The average rate tumbled on several produce lanes in the Midwest and Southeast: 

  • Green Bay, Wisconsin to Des Moines, Iowa: $2.36 per mile, down 39 cents
  • Grand Rapids, Michigan to Philadelphia: $4.02 per mile, down 18 cents
  • Atlanta to Lakeland, Florida: $3.35 per mile, down 13 cents 

Flatbed Trends

Last week flatbed load posts fell 12 percent, but truck posts declined 23 percent on DAT load boards. That caused the national flatbed load-to-truck ratio to jump 14 percent from 23.3 to 26.6 loads per truck. Among the lanes showing strength: 

  • Cleveland to Houston: $2.05 per mile, up 28 cents
  • Baltimore to Charlotte: $1.91 per mile, up 12 cents
  • Tampa to Atlanta: $1.75 per mile, up 17 cents 

DAT Trendlines is generated using DAT RateView, an innovative service that provides real-time reports on prevailing spot market and contract rates, as well as historical rate and capacity trends. RateView's comprehensive database is comprised of more than $45 billion in freight bills in over 65,000 lanes. DAT load boards average 993,000 load posts per business day.