Spot truckload freight volume and available capacity both fell during the week ending May 21, reported DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.
However, load-to-truck ratios increased and diesel prices have been rising sharply — an indication that spot rates may pick up soon, DAT said.
Loads, Capacity Down
The number of spot market load posts fell 4%, driven by a 6% drop in flatbed load volume. Fewer truck posts compared to the previous week helped boost load-to-truck ratios across all three equipment types: the van ratio gained 1%, to 1.7 loads per truck; the reefer ratio increased 18% to 3.3; and the flatbed ratio was up 5% to 15.4. Load-to-truck ratios measure the number of loads posted for each available truck on the DAT network.
National average spot TL rates held firm last week. The van rate was down 1 cent to $1.53/mile, the reefer rate was down a penny to $1.87/mile, and the flatbed rate was unchanged at $1.91/mile for the third week in a row.
Spot reefer rates rose on more than half of the highest-volume lanes. The high-dollar market in each region:
West: Los Angeles, $2.41/mile, unchanged
Midwest: Grand Rapids, Mich., $2.39/mile, up 2 cents
South Central: McAllen, Texas, $1.88/mile, down 1 cent
Southeast: Miami, $2.06/mile, unchanged
Northeast: Philadelphia, $2.16/mile, down 9 cents
Atlanta and Lakeland, Fla., are still No. 1 and 2 for reefer load posts on DAT load boards, though volumes slipped a bit in Central Florida.
Volume was up in Houston, the country’s No. 2 market for van load posts on DAT load boards after Atlanta. Chicago’s average outbound rate was down 2 cents to $1.71/mile, and rail competition is killing the lane from Chicago to L.A.: the average spot van rate lost another 14 cents to just $1.05/mile.
Rates are derived from DAT RateView, which provides real-time reports on prevailing spot market and contract rates, as well as historical rate and capacity trends. All reported rates include fuel surcharges.
Load-to-truck ratios represent the number of loads posted for every truck available on DAT load boards. The load-to-truck ratio is a sensitive, real-time indicator of the balance between spot market demand and capacity. Changes in the ratio often signal impending changes in rates.