The national average spot van rate hit its highest level since January and load-to-truck ratios for all three equipment types surged during the week ending Dec. 8, said DAT Solutions, which operates the industry’s largest electronic marketplace for truckload freight.
Demand for truckload van and refrigerated capacity is expected to remain strong through the end of the year and into early January as retail goods and groceries move through the supply chain during the holidays.
Monthly National Average Spot Rates (through Dec. 8)
- Van: $1.94 per mile, 12 cents higher than the November average
- Refrigerated: $2.26 per mile, 8 cents higher than November
- Flatbed: $2.14 per mile, 3 cents higher than November
Pricing moved higher on 77 of DAT’s top 100 van lanes by volume while eight lanes declined and 15 were neutral. The national average van load-to-truck ratio hit 4.0 last week, meaning there were four loads available for every truck posted to DAT’s load board network. That’s almost double the average since the start of November.
Lanes with gains: Load volumes were up nearly 30% out of the Laredo, Texas, freight market and about 20% in the Phoenix market compared to the previous week. Some of the largest van lane-rate increases last week were out West:
- Seattle to Los Angeles: $1.59 per mile, up 26 cents. The return trip added 12 cents to $2.47 a mile.
- Salt Lake City to Stockton, Calif.: $1.57 a mile, up 22 cents. The return trip also added 22 cents to $2.60 per mile.
- Denver to Los Angeles: $1.21 per mile, up 20 cents. The return trip dipped just 3 cents to $2.70 a mile.
The national average spot reefer rate has been on the increase since October. Rates were higher on 42 of the top 72 reefer lanes by volume last week while only seven lanes dropped.
Lanes with gains: Lanes from Tucson, Ariz., Philadelphia, and Elizabeth, N.J.—all significant produce markets—saw nice increases in their average rates. Among them:
- Tucson to Los Angeles: $2.12 per mile, up 26 cents. The return trip slipped 15 cents to $2.97.
- Philadelphia to Chicago: $1.72 a mile, up 21 cents. The return trip was $3.04 per mile, down 3 cents compared to the previous week.
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.