DAT Solutions: Van, reefer rates on MembersEdge highest since January

June 26, 2019

Land Line Staff


Spot truckload van and reefer rates on DAT MembersEdge hit their highest national averages since January last week, and flatbed rates continue to track ahead of May’s pace.

June remains steady, with the number of truck posts up 4% and load posts down 2% compared to the previous week. The question now is whether these generally positive trends will continue into July and August.

National average spot rates through June 23

  • Van: $1.90 per mile, 11 cents above the May average.
  • Reefer: $2.25 per mile, 10 cents higher.
  • Flatbed: $2.30 per mile, 2 cents higher.

Van trends

The national average van load-to-truck ratio fell from 3.0 to 2.6 although freight availability on the top 100 van lanes is strong. Volumes on these lanes are up roughly 21% compared to the same period a year ago.

Yet the national average spot van rate in June to date is 41 cents lower at $1.90 per mile, due in part to more available capacity. In addition, the spread between contract and spot rates is near a historic high. It’s likely that freight is switching from contract carriers and intermodal back into the spot marketplace.

Where rates were up
The average outbound spot van rate was higher out of Los Angeles ($2.35 per mile, up 5 cents) and Stockton, Calif. ($2.06 per mile, up 5 cents), compared to the previous week. But volumes were down more than 6% from Stockton and neutral from Los Angeles, signs that we may be seeing the last of supply chain managers moving freight to beat higher tariffs. Both markets have major West Coast ports. Key lanes:

  • Stockton to Seattle, up 16 cents to $2.79 per mile.
  • Los Angeles to Phoenix, up 11 cents to $2.80 per mile.
  • Atlanta to Miami, up 12 cents to $2.65 per mile.

Flatbed trends

Spot flatbed freight volumes increased 3% last week and, at 19.0, the national average flatbed load-to-truck ratio was marginally higher compared to the previous week. Flatbed rates are still up 1.5% during the month of June.

Where rates were up
The Raleigh, N.C., market stands out for having gained 11.6% in the last month and hitting $2.94 per mile overall last week. Volumes were up 41% there as well. And look at these lanes from Las Vegas, where flatbed volumes surged 51% last week:

  • Las Vegas to Sacramento, up 55 cents to $2.92 per mile.
  • Las Vegas to Phoenix, up 44 cents to $3.15 per mile.
  • Las Vegas to Los Angeles, up 30 cents to $2.91 per mile

Tri-haul of the week

Los Angeles-Phoenix-San Diego-L.A.

Last week the average spot van rate from Los Angeles to Phoenix was $2.78 per mile but the return was $1.50 per mile. That’s a $2.14 per mile roundtrip average. You could do better by adding a third leg using the tri-haul function in MembersEdge.

Phoenix to San Diego averaged $1.61 per mile; San Diego to Los Angeles was $3.62 per mile. At those rates, a Phoenix-San Diego-L.A. tri-haul would add 27 cents to your average rate: $2.41 per loaded mile. You also would add 102 miles to your trip, which would push the total revenue from $1,500 to more than $2,000. If you can make it work with your hours of service and the rest of your schedule, this could be a good route. There’s plenty of freight in all three locations right now.

Remember, these rates represent averages from last week and this week could be different. Talk to load providers and negotiate the best deal you can get on every haul.

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.