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Truckload Spot Rates Surge as 2018 Begins

| January 10, 2018

Spot Rates

With frigid weather and tight capacity, national average truckload spot rates saw double-digit increases during the week ending Jan. 6, according to DAT Solutions.

The number of available loads increased 27%, in line with expectations when a full workweek follows a holiday-shortened one. However, the number of trucks posted to DAT load boards was up just 7.4% and the imbalance pushed load-to-truck ratios up for all three equipment types:
Van load-to-truck ratio: 14.7, the highest van ratio ever recorded in DAT Trendlines
Flatbed ratio: 63.5, up 22%
Reefer ratio: 25.2, up 6%
In the van market, load posts jumped 26% but truck posts were up only 6%, as many truckers were still taking time off. The national average van rate was $2.30/mile, up 19 cents compared to the previous week.
Houston ($2.02/mile, up 11 cents) was the top market for outbound van volume and most of the top 100 van lanes saw higher rates. A sampling:
Chicago, $3.02/mile, up 10 cents
Columbus, Ohio, $2.87/mile, up 9 cents
Buffalo, N.Y., $2.87/mile, up 5 cents
Philadelphia, $2.35/mile, up 5 cents
Memphis, $2.58/mile, up 10 cents
Van markets where rates were down included Los Angeles ($2.86/mile, down 11 cents) and Dallas ($2.07/mile, down 7 cents). There were big drops on other van lanes that have been otherwise busy:
Los Angeles-Dallas was down 21 cents to an average of $2.27/mile
Dallas-Denver dropped 22 cents to $2.58/mile
Seattle-Salt Lake City lost 33 cents to $2.44/mile
Reefer load posts on DAT load boards increased 14% while reefer truck posts increased only 7%. The national average refrigerated spot rates increased 25 cents to $2.71/mile, a record high for reefers. Nogales, Ariz., was the only produce-shipping market to post any big rate increases last week. Miami, Sacramento, and Lakeland, Fla., all experienced sharp drops last week.
Demand for refrigerated trailers peaked at year-end but cold weather in parts of the country has kept prices at record levels where reefer trailers are used to keep freight from freezing.
Flatbed load posts surged 46% and truck posts increased 20% last week. The national average flatbed rate climbed 10 cents to $2.43/mile to start the year.
The national average price of on-highway diesel fuel increased another 10 cents to $3.00/gallon. Spot truckload freight rates include a fuel surcharge portion.

Category: General Update, News

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