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Spot truckload volume increased 10.6% last week; truck posts decline

| September 3, 2021

DAT Trendlines, Spot Truckload Market Summary, Aug 22-28

Spot truckload volume increased 10.6% last week; truck posts decline

Spot truckload freight volume increased 10.6% during the week ending August 28, said DAT Freight & Analytics, which operates the industry’s largest load board network and the DAT iQ data analytics service. The number of available trucks fell 4.3% compared to the previous week, which pushed spot rates higher.

Truckload van freight hit $2.79 per mile as a national average last week, up 2 cents compared to the previous week. The average spot reefer rate also jumped 2 cents to $3.13 per mile while the average flatbed rate rose a penny to $2.97 per mile. All rates include a fuel surcharge.


Demand for trucks remained high: The national average van load-to-truck ratio increased from 6.4 to 7.5 last week. meaning there were 7.5 available van loads for every van posted to the DAT network. The reefer ratio was 16.3, up from 14.2 the previous week, and the flatbed ratio increased from 41.7 to 48.5. These ratios are considerably higher than the same period in 2020, when the van ratio was 5.7, the reefer ratio was 10.7 and the flatbed ratio was 36.7.

Busiest lanes cooled down: While spot truckload freight volume was up nationally, the number of loads moved fell on the country’s busiest lanes. On DAT’s top 100 van lanes by volume, the number of loads moved was down 1.9% week over week. Volume fell 2.8% last week on the 72 busiest reefer lanes, while the number of flatbed loads moved dipped 0.6% on the top 78 flatbed lanes.

Produce volumes continued to taper off: Weekly truckload volumes of domestic produce have declined by 25% since the July 4 weekend, according to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.

Hurricane Ida affected freight in and out of New Orleans: Before Ida made landfall on August 29, inbound van volume increased 5% during August 22-28 while outbound volume jumped 19% compared to the previous week. Temperature-controlled shippers were also busy moving freight away from the storm, with outbound volume up 25% week over week.

New Orleans is not a large flatbed market but during hurricane season inbound loads of building materials, machinery and lumber surge in anticipation of high demand during rebuilding. Two weeks ago, inbound flatbed volumes jumped by 47% week over week before dropping to more typical levels.

How carriers and brokers can help with relief efforts: Flooding and power outages can snarl supply chains after a major storm. The American Logistics Aid Network (ALAN) posts a list of needs during recovery efforts including truck capacity, heavy equipment and warehouse space. DAT offers tools to move FEMA loads and emergency freight, connecting carriers with brokers and shippers who have urgent shipping needs.

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