DAT Solutions: Spot rates take a summer dip

July 25, 2018

Special to Land Line


Spot truckload rates continued their seasonal decline during the week ending July 21 as the overall number of loads on DAT MembersEdge fell 5.5 percent and capacity increased 1.3 percent.

National average rates declined for all three equipment types: the van rate fell 5 cents to $2.33 per mile, the refrigerated rate dropped 5 cents to $2.70 per mile, and the flatbed rate edged down 1 cent to $2.79 per mile.

Load-to-truck ratios also declined, a sign that historically tight truckload capacity is easing.

Hitting the road
Van truck posts were up 2 percent compared to the previous week while the number of available van loads were virtually unchanged. The national van load-to-truck ratio fell slightly to 7.1.

Southeastern swing
Overall, rates moved higher on just 18 of DAT’s Top 100 lanes. Seventy-six lanes were lower and six were neutral. The sharpest drops in average outbound van rates were in the Southeast.

  • Atlanta: $2.60 per mile, down 20 cents
  • Memphis: $2.90 per mile, down 11 cents although load-to-truck ratios remained healthy
  • Charlotte: $2.72, down 15 cents

Several van lanes reflected this regional trend.

  • Atlanta to Charlotte: $3.15 per mile, down 45 cents
  • Memphis to Charlotte: $2.65 per mile, down 26 cents
  • Atlanta to Chicago: $2.12 per mile, down 25 cents

Avocado dip
The number of reefer load posts on DAT load boards decreased 7 percent while truck posts were unchanged compared to the previous week, which helped send the reefer ratio down to 8.3 loads per truck.

Overall, the top 72 reefer lanes were down an average of 1.9 percent for rates and 4.1 percent for volumes; falling national rates were due in part to lower volumes from California, where excessive summer heat has damaged avocados and other crops.

Flats fall
The national load-to-truck ratio for flatbeds fell for the sixth week in a row. Load posts were down 11 percent while truck posts were up 1 percent, which pushed the ratio down to 43 loads per truck. That’s roughly half the June average.

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 follow on Facebook. On Twitter you can tweet your questions to us @LoadBoards and have your questions answered by DAT industry analyst Mark Montague.