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With Tight Capacity, Spot Rates Soar

| October 6, 2017

Tight Capacity

The number of available loads on the spot truckload freight market jumped 5.4% during the week ending Sept. 30 and tight capacity sent the load-to-truck ratio for van freight into uncharted territory, said DAT Solutions.

Overall the number of available trucks dropped 3.2% last week, and the tight capacity pushed load-to-truck ratios higher for all three equipment types:

Van: 7.0 loads per truck, up 10%
Flatbed: 50.2 loads per truck, up 16%
Refrigerated: 12.4 loads per truck, up 2%

National average spot TL rates continue to simmer at two-year highs:

Van: $1.97/mile, up 3 cents compared to the previous week. That’s 19 cents higher versus the same period in August and 35 cents higher year over year
Flatbed: $2.27/mile, up 2 cents (up 8 cents month-over-month)
Reefer: $2.23/mile, up 1 cent (up 15 cents month-over-month)

In the spot van market, the national average rate rose for the fifth straight week. Rates and volumes are coming back down to normal after the storms in the Southeast, but supply chains throughout the rest of the country are still feeling the ripple effects. 

Columbus and Chicago are key distribution points for the Midwest and Northeast but van freight volume. Rates to Southeast markets picked up due to strong seasonal demand and supply chain disruptions following Hurricanes Irma and Harvey.

– Columbus-Allentown, Pa., surged 50 cents to an average of $3.86/mile
– Columbus-Memphis climbed 37 cents to $2.28/mile
– Chicago-Denver added 38 cents at $3.05/mile
– Chicago-Buffalo was up 37 cents to $3.27/mile
– Chicago-Dallas rose 18 cents to $2.45/mile

Reefer load posts increased 1% and truck posts declined 1% last week. The ratio of 12.4 reefer loads per truck is the highest in years. Likewise, flatbed freight is moving in larger volumes to support rebuilding efforts in Florida and the Gulf Coast. Last week flatbed load posts increased 7% and truck posts declined 8%, which caused the load-to-truck ratio to rise to 50.2 loads per truck, the highest in recent memory.

Notably, the week ending Sept. 30 marks the end of Q3; truck capacity tends to be in higher demand before the close of a business quarter as shippers look to move inventory.

Category: Featured, General Update

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