DAT SOLUTIONS: Spot rates stay firm as summer approaches

May 30, 2018

Land Line Staff


The number of loads on DAT MembersEdge increased 1.3 percent and truck posts rose 2.2 percent last week, although there were signs of tighter capacity ahead of the Memorial Day weekend.

The national average van rate was unchanged compared to the previous week while the reefer and flatbed rates both made gains.

  • Van: $2.15 per mile, unchanged
  • Flatbed: $2.73 per mile, up 1 cent
  • Reefer: $2.51 per mile, up 2 cents

Those rates include a fuel surcharge portion. The national average diesel price increased another 5 cents to $3.29 per gallon.

Van load overview
Van load posts jumped 6 percent while truck posts increased 1 percent, which pushed the van load-to-truck ratio 5 percent higher to 7 loads per truck.

Hot van markets
While the national average spot van rate held steady, there was upward movement on major lanes out of California and the Southeast and South Central regions.

Los Angeles outbound spot van freight averaged $2.67 per mile, up 13 cents compared to the previous week. Los Angeles to Denver climbed 27 cents to an average of $3.25 per mile.

Other hot spots:

  • Houston ($2.24 per mile, up 7 cents);
  • Dallas ($2.12 per mile, up 7 cents);
  • Memphis ($2.76 per mile, up 9 cents); and
  • Atlanta ($2.55 per mile, up 11 cents).

Two van lanes we’re watching:

  • Houston to New Orleans, up 25 cents to $3.20 per mile; and
  • Atlanta to Charlotte, up 29 cents to $3.36 per mile.

Flatbed overview
The flatbed load-to-truck ratio dipped to 89.9, still historically high. The number of flatbed load posts fell 4 percent while truck posts were up 4 percent.

Hot flatbed markets
Flatbed rates can vary widely and last week was no exception. Key lanes:

  • Raleigh to Baltimore, $4.33 per mile, up 57 cents;
  • Dallas to El Paso, $2.07 per mile, down 19 cents;
  • Cleveland to Roanoke, Va., $4.25 per mile, up 20 cents;
  • Las Vegas to Los Angeles, $3.93 per mile, up 77 cents.

The average flatbed rate from Las Vegas was $3.24 per mile, a 41-cent increase compared to the previous week.

Reefer overview
The number of reefer load posts was up 10 percent while truck posts rose 5 percent. As a result, the national load-to-truck ratio for reefers increased 5 percent to 9.7 loads per truck.

Tri-haul of the week: Atlanta-Chicago-Springfield-Atlanta

Atlanta is a hot van market, which means prices are trending down on a lot of inbound lanes. Not all of them, though, and you can use those higher-paying opportunities to put together a tri-haul.

Let’s say you’re running from Atlanta to Chicago, which paid an average of $2.41 per mile last week. Chicago to Atlanta averaged $2.19 per mile—a nice roundtrip.

What if you broke the southbound trip into two legs? Chicago to Springfield, Ill., paid $3.74 per mile on average last week, and Springfield to Atlanta has averaged $2.91 per mile. This tri-haul would push the overall rate per loaded mile from $2.30 to $2.78; the extra stop would add about 100 miles, not counting deadhead, and add just under $1,000 in revenue, if it works with your hours-of-service schedule.

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/industry-trends/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.