DAT Solutions: Spot van and reefer rates slip

February 22, 2018

Special to Land Line


The number of load posts on DAT MembersEdge held steady during the week ending Feb. 17, and volumes remain higher than they were a month ago. Truck posts increased 1 percent, which led to lower load-to-truck ratios for vans and reefers but a better ratio for flatbeds:

  • Van – 7.2 available loads per truck, down 2 percent
  • Reefers – 9.6 loads per truck, down 6 percent
  • Flatbed – 64.2 loads per truck, up 4 percent

National average van and reefer rates moved lower:

  • Van – $2.15 per mile, down 2 cents
  • Reefer – $2.45 per mile, down 5 cents
  • Flatbed – $2.30 per mile, up 2 cents

Van trends
The national average van rate fell for the sixth straight week. Lower rates are typical for February, but the average is still higher than it was at any point in 2017. As prices drop, volumes are picking up slightly. Momentum may be building for a rebound in March.

Van markets to watch
Load counts rose in Houston and Chicago. It’s the off season for retail, so more loads in these markets may be a sign that retail freight is picking up earlier than usual. Chicago averaged $2.68 per mile, down 3 cents; Houston was $1.97 per mile, unchanged from last week.

Gains in the Gulf
Two major lanes out of the Gulf region paid better last week: New Orleans-Dallas, $2.15 per mile, up 19 cents; and Houston-Los Angeles, $1.64 per mile, up 11 cents.

Reefer trends
Load posts fell 5 percent and truck posts edged up 1 percent. Prices are still unusually high year over year, although at $2.45 per mile the average is 25 cents less than a month ago.

Hot reefer markets
Volumes were up big in four markets: Nogales, Ariz.SacramentoTwin Falls, Idaho; and Green Bay, Wis. Most other produce areas are either inactive or have falling prices, but avocado and citrus shipments helped boost rates on the Ontario, Calif.-Chicago lane, up 37 cents to $2.24 per mile.

Flatbed trends
The average flatbed rate was $2.30 per mile, rising for the third straight week. Load posts increased 1 percent and truck posts fell 3 percent. Flatbed volumes have been steady since an uptick at the end of January.

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 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.