Spot truckload freight activity slowed last week as Tropical Storm Imelda brought severe rain and flooding to Houston and disrupted supply chains across the South and Midwest. The number of loads posted dropped 25% compared to the previous week and the number of trucks posted fell 17%, said DAT Solutions, which operates the industry’s largest network of load boards.
The price of diesel, meanwhile, shot up 9 cents to $3.08 per gallon as a national average.
National Average Spot Rates, September 2019 (through Sept. 22)
- Van: $1.84 per mile, 3 cents higher than the August average
- Flatbed: $2.19 per mile, 1 cent lower than August
- Reefer: $2.17 per mile, 3 cents higher than August
The van load-to-truck ratio averaged 2.1, down from 2.4 the previous week. Spot van rates were higher on 41 of DAT’s Top 100 largest van lanes by volume, with few notable price swings.
Where rates were up: Denver increased 6 cents to an average of $1.24 per mile. Rates were higher from Denver to Houston ($1.30 per mile, up 12 cents) and other markets like Oklahoma City that generally use Houston-based businesses in their supply chains. Suppliers in Denver helped pick up the slack.
The effects of Hurricane Dorian continue to fade, with demand for trucks falling in the Southeast:
- Atlanta to Charlotte dropped 17 cents to $2.21 per mile
- Atlanta to Miami fell 13 cents to $2.54 per mile
Demand for reefer trucks edged lower, with the national average load-to-truck ratio slipping from 4.5 to 3.9. Spot reefer rates rose on 34 of DAT’s Top 72 reefer lanes.
Where rates were up: Tree-fruit harvests continue to generate volume in the Upper Midwest. Grand Rapids, Michigan, to Madison, Wisconsin, rose 26 cents to an average of $3.07 per mile last week. The return trip paid $3.55 per mile—that’s an average of $3.31 per mile for the 662-mile roundtrip between the two markets.
Pumpkin season in Albuquerque, New Mexico, is creating opportunities for both van and reefer haulers. The van load-to-truck ratio there hit 15 to 1 with more than 2,400 loads available; the reefer ratio was 37 to 1 with more than 2,500 available loads.