DAT SOLUTIONS: Need a load? June starts with high demand for trucks

June 6, 2018

Special to Land Line


Last week included the Memorial Day holiday, so compared to the previous full workweek a decline in load board activity is expected.

While truck posts on DAT MembersEdge were down 18 percent, load posts fell just 9 percent; the scarcity of trucks during the shorter workweek, along with high fuel costs, put pressure on national average spot truckload rates.

  • Van: $2.19 per mile, up 4 cents
  • Flatbed: $2.75 per mile, up 2 cents to another record high
  • Reefer: $2.55 per mile, up 4 cents

Van overview
Van truck posts fell 20 percent – a more typical decline for a holiday-shortened week – but the number of posted loads was down just 3 percent. The national van load-to-truck ratio climbed 21 percent to 8.5 loads per truck.

Van rates are the highest they have been since full ELD mandate enforcement began on April 1. Rates on the top 100 van lanes increased 3.2 percent and are up 7.8 percent in the last month, and, on a per-lane basis, rates were higher on 67 lanes compared to 28 down and five neutral.

Hot van markets included Atlanta, where outbound volume slipped only 2 percent compared to the previous week despite one less shipping day, and the average outbound rate was up 9 cents to $2.63 per mile. Los Angeles rose 12 cents to $2.81 per mile; Dallas was up 10 cents to $2.23 per mile; and Memphis gained 6 cents to $2.81 per mile. Two van lanes to watch:

  • Houston to New Orleans, up 11 cents to $3.31 per mile after a 25-cent gain the previous week
  • Philadelphia to Boston, up 22 cents to $4.18 per mile

Flatbed overview
The national flatbed load-to-truck ratio edged closer to 100 again. Load posts were down 12 percent. Truck posts, on the other hand, declined 21 percent, which pushed the ratio up to 99.4 loads per truck.

Reefer overview
Reefer load posts decreased 13 percent and truck posts fell 11 percent. As a result, the national reefer load-to-truck ratio dropped 3 percent to 9.4 loads per truck.

Spot reefer rates continued to build after a strong run-up to Memorial Day weekend, led by California produce activity. Los Angeles outbound averaged $3.43 per mile, up 10 cents; Fresno was $3.09 per mile, 14 cents higher; and Sacramento was $3.13 per mile, up 16 cents. Key reefer lanes last week:

  • Fresno to Seattle, up 18 cents to $4.09 per mile
  • Los Angeles to Denver, up 40 cents to $3.62 per mile
  • Sacramento to Denver, up 37 cents to $3.16 per mile

Roadcheck effect
This week includes the annual International Roadcheck inspection blitz. A lot of truckers take vacation during Roadcheck, which makes capacity harder to find and adds pressure on rates.

Last year there was 23 percent increase in the load-to-truck ratio on DAT MembersEdge and rates were higher for every trailer type. What’s different this year is that capacity is already tight across much of the country, and rates are already elevated. We will report on the “Roadcheck effect” next week.

Tri-haul of the week: Chicago-Dallas-Lexington-Chicago

Van rates are on the rise in many parts of the country, but the lane between Chicago and Dallas has been ho-hum by comparison. The average rate for that roundtrip is $1.90 per mile.

Chicago to Dallas (typically the better-paying direction) was $2.11 per mile on average last week, while Dallas to Chicago was $1.68. Instead of heading straight back to Chicago, consider this: Dallas to Lexington, Ky., averaged $2.22 per mile last week, while Lexington to Chicago averaged $2.64.

Your average rate per loaded mile for this tri-haul would jump to $2.25 on about 320 extra miles, not counting deadhead, and boost your revenue by nearly $1,400.

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.