DAT Solutions: Spot rates, load posts rise, but gains may be temporary

January 11, 2019

Special to Land Line


The number of load posts on MembersEdge jumped 18 percent last week, outpacing the 11 percent gain in the number of truck posts. That’s good news for rates, which were up 3 cents on average for dry van, reefer, and flatbed freight.

  • Van: $2.11 per mile.
  • Flatbed: $2.46 per mile.
  • Reefer: $2.47 per mile.

This upward swing may be brief, though, as lower fuel surcharges and weaker pricing on high-traffic lanes may impact rates overall. The average price of diesel dropped 3.5 cents last week to $3.01 per gallon nationally.

Van trends

The number of van load and truck load posts both increased 11 percent compared to the previous week, which included the Christmas holiday. The van load-to-truck ratio was unchanged at 8.9 loads per truck. Rates moved higher on 41 of the top 100 van lanes while prices fell on 53 lanes. The other six held steady.

Bottoms up
The three largest lane-rate increases were out of Denver:

  • Denver to Albuquerque jumped 28 cents to $2.35 per mile.
  • Denver to Oklahoma City gained 21 cents to $1.41 per mile.
  • Denver to Chicago added 20 cents to $1.52 per mile

Denver is a big beer-producing market, with large-production breweries and craft brewers shipping beer in vans and reefers. It’s possible that NFL playoff games and college bowl games increased demand from bars, restaurants, and grocery stores.

Drifting down
Average outbound rates from major van markets slipped lower after a strong week to close the year. Among them:

  • Los Angeles: $2.61 per mile, down 2 cents.
  • Memphis: $2.32 per mile, down 3 cents.
  • Atlanta: $2.25 per mile, unchanged.
  • Philadelphia: $2.01 per mile, down 7 cents.
  • Columbus, Ohio: $2.48 per mile, down 4 cents

Reefer trends

Reefer load-posting volume was unchanged last week while capacity increased 8 percent. The reefer ratio dropped to 9.8 loads per truck.

In da Zona
Among the top reefer lanes, 24 moved higher and 46 were lower. One of the hottest markets is Nogales, Ariz., led by Nogales to Dallas (up 61 cents to $3.38 per mile) and Nogales to Brooklyn (a 44-cent increase to $3.08 per mile).

Tri-haul of the week: Atlanta-Philadelphia-Pittsburgh-Atlanta

Atlanta to Philadelphia paid an average of $2.33 per mile for dry van last week but Philly to Atlanta averaged just $1.74 per mile. The tri-haul tool in MembersEdge Pro can help you find a better-paying route back.

One recommendation is to take a load from Philly to Pittsburgh ($2.66 per mile average) and another from Pittsburgh to Atlanta ($2.29 per mile). If it works with your hours, this tri-haul would add 33 cents to your average rate per loaded mile, which works out to more than $1,000 in extra revenue.

DAT 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.