DAT Solutions: Spot rates on MembersEdge streak higher

October 5, 2017

Special to Land Line


The week ending Sept. 30 marks the end of a quarter, when shippers are pushing to move freight out the door before closing their financial statements.

Combine that with 3.2 percent less capacity and 5.4 percent more available loads on DAT MembersEdge and you can see why load-to-truck ratios for van freight is in uncharted territory and all three equipment types are higher:

  • Van: 7.0 available loads per truck, up 10 percent
  • Flatbed: 50.2 loads per truck, up 16 percent
  • Refrigerated: 12.4 loads per truck, up 2 percent

Spot rates simmering: National average spot TL rates continue to hit two-year highs:

  • Van: $1.97/mile, up 3 cents compared to the previous week. That’s 19 cents higher compared to the same period in August and 35 cents higher year over year
  • Flatbed: $2.27/mile, up 2 cents (up 8 cents month-over-month)
  • Reefer: $2.23/mile, up 1 cent (up 15 cents month-over-month)

Ripple effects: The spot van rate rose for the fifth straight week. Rates and volumes are coming back down to normal after the storms in the Southeast, but supply chains throughout the rest of the country are still feeling the ripple effects.

Monsters of the midway: Two markets, Columbus and Chicago, are key distribution points for the Midwest and Northeast. But volume and rates to Southeast markets picked up because of strong seasonal demand and supply chain disruptions following Hurricanes Irma and Harvey:

  • Columbus-Allentown, Pa., surged 50 cents to an average of $3.86/mile
  • Columbus-Memphis climbed 37 cents to $2.28/mile
  • Chicago-Denver added 38 cents at $3.05/mile
  • Chicago-Buffalo was up 37 cents to $3.27/mile

Chicago-Dallas rose 18 cents to $2.45/mile

Reefers rise: Reefer load posts increased 1 percent and truck posts declined 1 percent last week. The 12.4 loads per truck ratio is the highest in years.

Flatbeds moving: Likewise, flatbed freight has begun to move in larger volumes to support rebuilding efforts in Florida and the Gulf Coast. Last week flatbed load posts increased 7 percent and truck posts declined 8 percent, which caused the load-to-truck ratio to rise to 50.2 loads per truck, the highest in recent memory.

Tri-haul of the week
Van loads coming out of Seattle often pay backhaul rates but pricing has gotten better in recent weeks. One lane that still does not pay well is the one from Seattle-Stockton (just $1.43/mile last week). If you need to get from Seattle back to Stockton, though, you can make more money if you create a tri-haul that takes advantage of one of those higher-priced lanes.

Vans got paid an average of $2.45/mile last week from Stockton-Seattle. Instead of hauling cheap freight back to California, grab a load from Seattle-Reno instead. That lane paid an average of $2.49/mile last week. From there, it’s a relatively short haul from Reno-Stockton, for about $2.95. The extra stop adds about 130 miles, not including deadhead, but it can boost your revenue by more than $1,200. That gives you an average of $2.52 per loaded mile for the tri-haul, instead of $1.94 for the roundtrip.

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 OOIDA’s 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 @LoadBoardsand have your questions answered by DAT industry analyst Mark Montague.