DAT Solutions: Spot truckload rates make modest gains

June 6, 2019

Special to Land Line


National average spot rates on DAT MembersEdge inched upward during the holiday-shortened week after Memorial Day, led by gains in the country’s most active van, reefer, and flatbed lanes.

National average spot rates through June 2

  • Van: $1.86 per mile, 6 cents higher than the May average.
  • Reefer:  $2.21 per mile, 6 cents higher than May.
  • Flatbed: $2.27 per mile, 4 cents higher than May.

Diesel dipped 1 cent to $3.14 per gallon as a national average.

Van trends

Spot rates were higher on 73 of the top 100 van lanes, with volumes up along the Eastern Seaboard. Compared to the previous week, the van load-to-ratio increased nearly a full point to 2.6.

Where rates are rising

Buffalo ($1.97 per mile average outbound, up 4 cents), Philadelphia ($1.65 per mile, up 7 cents), and Allentown, Pa. ($1.97 per mile, up 5 cents) produced some of the better lane-rate gains last week.

  • Philadelphia to Boston surged 30 cents to $3.33 per mile.
  • Charlotte to Allentown was up 18 cents to $2.53 per mile.
  • Columbus, Ohio, to Buffalo added 15 cents to $2.72 per mile.

Where they’re not

Los Angeles lost some traction due to a rate drop to Chicago (which averaged $1.28 per mile). Some shippers are switching to rail intermodal there, which siphons demand from trucks. Seven of the top eight lanes from Denver were also down.

Reefer trends

The national average reefer load-to-truck ratio increased from 2.9 to 3.8 loads per truck and the average spot rate was higher on 37 of the top 72 reefer lanes. Freight availability continues to be affected by agricultural production, especially in Florida and California.

Where rates are rising

The average spot reefer rate out of Los Angeles increased 4 cents to $2.76 per mile compared to the previous week, but most other major markets saw little movement one way or the other. The average from Atlanta added a penny to $2.29 per mile due in part to gains on lanes to Florida.

  • Atlanta to Miami jumped 21 cents to $2.26 per mile.
  • Atlanta to Lakeland increased 19 cents to $2.67 per mile.

Where they’re not

Look at the returns on those two lanes: Lakeland to Atlanta plummeted 27 cents to $1.79 per mile, while Miami to Atlanta was off 15 cents to $1.91 per mile.

Flatbed trends

The national average flatbed load-to-truck ratio rose from 11.3 to 14.4 last week but is a long way from the year-ago mark of 89.4. The average spot flatbed rate rose on 49 of the top 78 flatbed lanes.

Where rates are rising

  • Houston; Phoenix; Fort Worth, Texas; Pittsburgh; Rock Island, Ill.; and Roanoke, Va., are trending up. Following are some key lanes.
  • Fort Worth to Houston increased 9 cents to $2.30 per mile (the return averaged $2.65 per mile).
  • Phoenix to Ontario, Calif., rose 11 cents to $1.87 per mile.
  • Rock Island to Minneapolis added 17 cents to $2.72 per 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.

For the latest spot market load availability and rate information, visit the MyMembersEdge.com load board or tune in to Land Line Now. You can get all of the latest rate information at dat.com per industry-trends per Trendlines, comment on the DAT Freight Talk blog, or join us on Facebook. On Twitter you can tweet your questions to us @LoadBoards and have your questions answered by DAT industry analyst Mark Montague.