DAT Solutions: Spot van rate on MembersEdge hits $2.09 a mile

October 12, 2017

Special to Land Line


Load posts on DAT MembersEdge dropped 3 percent during the week ending Oct. 7, taking the edge off the uptick from the previous week. Truck posts gained just 1 percent, which kept load-to-truck ratios high:

  • Vans: 6.5 available loads per truck
  • Flatbeds: 46.7 loads per truck
  • Reefers: 12.4 loads per truck

Tight capacity pushed rates higher. Check it out:

  • Vans: $2.09/mile, up 12 cents compared to the previous week
  • Flatbeds: $2.31/mile, up 4 cents
  • Reefers: $2.37/mile, up 14 cents

On to the trendlines.

Spot van volumes declined 6 percent and van posts increased 1 percent. Western markets were solid and the Pacific Northwest in particular, with higher reefer load counts in the region contributing to tighter van capacity. That meant fewer reefer trucks were competing for van loads. Rerouted port traffic from Houston to Seattle after Hurricane Harvey may have added to demand for trucks in the area.

Outbound van rates have soared more than 40 percent out of Seattle in the past month. Seattle is normally a backhaul market, meaning that outbound rates are usually quite a bit lower than the inbound rates.

Columbus, Ohio, has been one of the hottest van freight markets ever since Hurricane Harvey caused massive disruptions. Prices are above seasonal norms but key outbound lanes declined compared to the previous week:

  • Columbus-Buffalo fell 19 cents but still averaged $3.42/mile
  • Columbus-Allentown was down 14 cents to $3.72/mile
  • Columbus-Memphis dropped 13 cents to $2.15/mile

In the reefer market, load posts and truck posts were unchanged from the previous week. Seasonal harvests are winding down but tight capacity led to higher reefer rates on the West Coast and in the Midwest.

After reaching the highest flatbed load-to-truck ratio in years the previous week, flatbed load posts dipped 1 percentand truck posts increased 6 percent. Rebuilding efforts in Florida and the Gulf Coast continue to pace demand for flatbeds.

Tri-haul of the Week
The going rate for reefer loads from Grand Rapids, Mich.-Philadelphia was down but paid well at $3.51/mile, while the return trip averaged $1.92/mile. That’s a good roundtrip especially if you can complete the 1,436 miles, with pickup and delivery, in three days.

If your trip will take four days anyway, you can boost your revenue with a tri-haul. One route takes advantage of high rates on the lane from Philly-Cincinnati, which paid an average of $2.51/mile last week. Reefer loads from Cincinnati-Grand Rapids averaged $3.44/mile.

Adding that extra leg would make the trip about 200 miles longer, not counting deadhead. Your average rate would also go from $2.72 to $3.15 per loaded mile. The combination of more loaded miles and higher rate per mile will add more than $1,200 to your total revenue for the trip, giving you $5,100 over four days. Looking at it another way, it’s $1,300 per day instead of $1,000.

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.