Holiday Week Pushes Spot Truckload Rates Higher

With Thanksgiving occurring late in November, the holiday weekend coincided with end-of-month pressures.


With Thanksgiving occurring late in November, the holiday weekend coincided with end-of-month pressures. Spot truckload rates rose sharply on loads that were picked up during the week ending Dec. 1 as brokers tried to attract capacity during the short workweek, said DAT Solutions, which operates the industry’s largest electronic marketplace for truckload freight. The number of loads moved declined and load-to-truck ratios fell for all three equipment types.

National Average Rates, November:

  • Van: $1.83 per mile, 3 cents higher than the October average
  • Reefer: $2.18 per mile, up 7 cents compared to October
  • Flatbed: $2.11 per mile, 6 cents lower than October


Average rates were higher on 79 of DAT’s Top 100 van lanes by volume last week. Sixteen lanes held steady while only five lanes averaged lower prices. Several lanes with big average rate increases last week actually gained in both directions:

  • Portland, Ore., to Stockton, Calif., averaged $1.91 per mile, up 30 cents compared to the previous week. Stockton to Portland gained 6 cents to $2.53 per mile.
  • Philadelphia to Columbus, Ohio, averaged $1.56 a mile, up 11 cents, while the return rose 9 cents to $2.95 per mile. This lane is associated with retail freight moving to warehouses.
  • Charlotte to Memphis gained 11 cents to $1.59 a mile while the return averaged $2.17 per mile, up 13 cents. Memphis is a hub for truckload freight as well as parcel.


Reefer load-posting activity started last week strong and tapered off toward Thanksgiving Day. Unlike van posts, reefer load posting activity increased on Friday as goods move through the cold chain to restock grocery stores and distribution centers for the holidays ahead.

Average outbound rates increased in most major reefer markets but two lanes stood out compared to the previous week:

  • Tucson to Los Angeles, up 17 cents to $2.03 per mile, due to an influx of imported produce at the Nogales, Ariz., border crossing. The return trip increased 18 cents to an average of $3.27 per mile.
  • Chicago to Kansas City, up 21 cents to $2.66 per mile. The return trip added 12 cents to an average of $2.39 per mile.

This weekly spot-rate snapshot is derived from DAT RateView, which provides real-time reports on spot market and contract rates, as well as historical rate and capacity trends. The RateView database is comprised of more than $65 billion in annualized freight payments.