DAT SOLUTIONS: Spot rates rise ahead of Hurricane Florence

September 12, 2018

Special to Land Line


Last year’s hurricane season reaffirmed the essential role that trucking and logistics play in disaster preparation and recovery.

Before a storm, spot-market demand increases as shippers, brokers, and other organizations look for trucks to position freight. After a storm, van and reefer loads tend to move in first, and flatbed demand picks up if there’s construction equipment needed for rebuilding and cleanup.

With Hurricane Florence intensifying and tracking toward the Carolinas last week, the number of van load posts on DAT MembersEdge fell 6 percent compared to the previous week, which actually represents strong demand considering that load board activity typically declines 20 to 25 percent during a holiday week. Van equipment posts fell 14 percent. Reefer load posting activity had a steeper decline (down 16 percent) than reefer truck posts (down 6 percent) during Labor Day week.

Van Demand & Capacity Map

Rates moved higher on many lanes. The national average spot van rate jumped 6 cents to $2.20 per mile while the reefer rate gained 8 cents to $2.57 per mile compared to the previous week. Let’s look at the Trendlines:

Mid-Atlantic moves
Northeastern van markets were especially busy moving goods into Charlotte. Buffalo to Charlotte was up 21 cents to an average of $2.54 per mile, while Philadelphia to Charlotte gained 15 cents to $1.90 per mile.

Seattle storm
Van rates out of Seattle have been trending up but the lane to Spokane dropped 19 cents to $3.52 per mile last week.

Denver? Really
Two of the hottest van lanes were out of Denver, where you usually need all the help you can get. Denver to Oklahoma City paid 24 cents better at $1.47 per mile and Denver to Albuquerque was up 25 cents to $2.24 per mile.

Memphis blues
Van pricing out of Memphis continued to lag, with Memphis to Atlanta down 12 cents to $2.68 per mile compared to the previous week.

Reefers Cool
The average reefer load-to-truck ratio fell from 9.2 to 8.3 loads per truck.

Queen Elizabeth
Reefer volumes out of Elizabeth, New Jersey, rose last week despite the short workweek. Elizabeth to Boston shot up 31 cents to $4.96 per mile.

California sliding
Reefer rates out of California continued to slide. Sacramento to Portland, Ore., dropped 40 cents to $3.57 per mile, and Ontario to Seattle lost 18 cents at $2.73 per mile.

Diesel on the rise
On-highway diesel moved up 1 cent to $3.26 per gallon as a national average last week.

Flats fall
The average spot flatbed rate moved lower again last week, falling 2 cents to $2.62 per mile.

Stay safe out there
Your MembersEdge load board has tools to help you find FEMA and emergency freight. Be safe, and visit dat.com per industry-trends per emergency-freight for the latest information.

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.