DAT Solutions: Spot truckload rates, volume tick higher

March 12, 2020

Special to Land Line


Truckload rates on DAT MembersEdge picked up a little traction during the first week of March as load-to-truck ratios increased for all three equipment types. Retailers are playing a role as they try to replenish inventories faster than consumers can fill their carts with shelf-stable food and cleaning supplies.

National average spot truckload rates, March (through March 8)

  • Van: $1.82 per mile, up 3 cents compared to February.
  • Reefer: $2.11 per mile, up 2 cents.
  • Flatbed: $2.19 per mile, up 5 cents.

Van trends

Retailers expect the coronavirus outbreak to have a longer and larger impact on imports at major U.S. container ports than previously believed. Factory shutdowns and travel restrictions in China continue to affect production, and there are still issues affecting cargo movement, including the availability of truck drivers to move freight to Chinese ports.

The National Retail Federation is forecasting imports to be 18% lower in March and 3% lower in April year over year before bouncing back with 9% increases in May and June.

For now, the national average van load-to-truck ratio increased for the sixth straight week, rising from 2.1 to 2.4 last week.

A handful of high-volume lanes had truckload rates rise in both directions, including Dallas to Houston, which jumped 9 cents to $2.09 per mile, while Houston to Dallas gained 4 cents to $1.93. Otherwise, van prices are trending up seasonally but remain soft in places:

  • Dallas to Laredo, Texas, fell 7 cents to $1.18 per mile; Laredo to Dallas held steady at $2.09.
  • Stockton, Calif., to Salt Lake City fell 9 cents to $2.05 per mile; Salt Lake City to Stockton lost 4 cents to $1.47.
  • Buffalo, N.Y., to Charlotte, N.C., fell 6 cents to $1.80 per mile; Charlotte to Buffalo dropped 4 cents to $2.16 per mile.

Reefer trends

The national average reefer load-to-truck ratio inched up to 4.6 last week compared to 4.2 the week before. Produce markets are in a seasonal transition, with geography coming into play:

  • Tucson, Ariz., to Los Angeles hit $2.45 per mile, up 23 cents.
  • McAllen, Texas, to Atlanta rocketed up 10 cents to $2.35 per mile.
  • McAllen to Elizabeth, N.J., gained 4 cents to $2.15 per mile.

South Florida truckload rates area trending down this week.

  • Miami to Atlanta rates lost 15 cents to $1.52 per mile, and trending lower.
  • Miami to Elizabeth fell 6 cents to $1.64.

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 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.

Here is last week’s report.