DAT SOLUTIONS: Spot market cools to start October

October 10, 2018

Special to Land Line


The market for spot truckload freight cooled down during the first week of October compared to the end of September, when shippers were trying to move freight before the close of the third quarter.

Load posts on MembersEdge were down 13 percent while truck posts increased 8 percent from Sept. 30 to Oct. 6, a combination that produced lower load-to-truck ratios for all three truck types.

  • Vans: 5.6 loads per truck, down 23 percent. Van load posts fell 15 percent and truck posts rose 10 percent compared to the previous week.
  • Flatbeds: 22.0, down 15 percent. Flatbed load posts fell 9 percent while truck posts climbed 7 percent.
  • Reefers: 6.9, down 18 percent. Reefer load posts were down 14 percent and truck posts increased by 5 percent.

Let’s look at the Trendlines.

Topping off
Fuel is one reason why spot rates have stayed elevated. The national average price of diesel was up 7 cents last week to $3.38 per gallon. That’s a 17 percent increase year over year.

Mixed results for van
The national average spot van rate was up 2 cents to $2.17 per mile last week, but the average rate declined on 68 of the top 100 van lanes. Spot line-haul van rates are now only 5 percent higher than a year ago.

Look West
Spot van rates were stronger across the West but weaker elsewhere. Many van lanes that spiked due to Hurricane Florence continue to fall, including Buffalo to Charlotte, down 20 cents to $2.24 per mile after a 24-cent drop the previous week. Other lanes were down as well.

  • Dallas to Denver plunged 24 cents to $2.40 per mile.
  • Philly to Buffalo dropped 18 cents to $2.76 per mile.
  • Buffalo to Allentown, Pa., was down 17 cents to $3.49 per mile.

Reefers holding
Rate changes among the top 72 reefer lanes were balanced, with 33 lanes up, 35 lanes down, and four neutral last week. A hallmark of 2018 has been high-priced lanes coming down but taking weeks or months to normalize. Here are three lanes in that process:

  • Green Bay to Joliet, Ill., down 48 cents to $3.48 per mile.
  • Philadelphia to Boston lost 24 cents to $4.20 per mile.
  • Elizabeth, N.J., to Boston dropped 20 cents to $4.79 per mile.

Tri-haul of the week: Chicago-Dallas-Des Moines-Chicago

Chicago to Dallas paid an average of $2.29 per mile last week but the return trip was just $1.25 per mile. So consider a load to the Des Moines, Iowa, area. Dallas-Des Moines averaged $2.01 per mile last week, and the average rate from there to Chicago was $2.49 per mile. If you can make it work with your schedule, adding Des Moines to your route would increase your distance by 77 miles, not counting deadhead, but boost your average rate per loaded mile from $1.77 to $2.23. That works out to an extra $1,007 in revenue.

DAT Members Edge tri-haul of the week chart

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.