DAT SOLUTIONS: Spot rates recede but stay at historic highs

August 3, 2018

Special to Land Line


Spot truckload rates on MembersEdge declined again during the week ending July 28 as the overall number of loads posted fell 4.2 percent and capacity increased 0.5 percent.

But rates are still firm.

  • Van: $2.30 per mile, down 3 cents
  • Reefer: $2.62 per mile, down 3 cents
  • Flatbed: $2.78 per mile, down 1 cent

In fact, they’re just pennies below June’s record highs and are well above recent-year averages. With a strong economy and holiday freight still to come, spot rates may stay elevated through the end of the year.

Vans soften a little
In the van market, the number of available trucks increased 1 percent compared to the previous week while load posts declined 3 percent. These conditions pushed the national van load-to-truck ratio down slightly to 6.9.

Prices softened in several van markets.

  • Los Angeles: $2.80 per mile, down 6 cents
  • Memphis: $2.77 per mile, down 13 cents
  • Atlanta: $2.47, down 11 cents
  • Houston: $2.19 per mile, down 6 cents


Reefers hold steady
The number of reefer load posts held steady while truck posts dropped 1 percent. The reefer ratio rose to 8.4 loads per truck, which is 36 percent lower that the June average of 13.1. Capacity is beginning to loosen up. The national average rate for reefers is 4 cents below the June average but still high compared to previous years.

Simply put, rates are falling from all-time highs in June.

Flatbeds fall again
The national load-to-truck ratio for flatbeds fell for the seventh straight week at 39.5. Load posts were down 9 percent, while truck posts were unchanged.

One market to watch: Texas, where steel tariffs and challenges securing specialty pipe – which is manufactured almost entirely of overseas steel—may be having an effect on flatbed load availability.

Overall, flatbed pricing remains volatile with large weekly swings in both directions.

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.