Demand for trucks continues to soar on the West Coast

August 5, 2021

Special to Land Line


The number of loads on DAT MembersEdge rose 0.3% last week, and the number of available trucks fell 1.2%, resulting in a week of relatively stable rates as a national average.

Spot rates typically drop after the July Fourth holiday but were elevated all month, buoyed by demand in Southern California and other port markets. July volumes declined compared to June, the busiest month on record: the number of available van, refrigerated and flatbed loads on the DAT network fell 17.1% and capacity dropped 6.6%.


Dry van load-post volumes increased slightly and equipment posts remained flat last week, and the national average van load-to-truck ratio was virtually unchanged at 6.0. The average van rate was $2.73 per mile, matching the average for July. In DAT’s top 100 van freight markets by volume, the number of loads moved increased 2.5% last week.


DAT Seven-day load to truck ratios


West Coast port markets are driving demand for truckload services. Ships continue to bunch up outside the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, where about one-third of all container imports arrive. The average outbound van rate from Los Angeles was $3.70 per mile last week and Los Angeles to Phoenix, a key lane for imported e-commerce freight, hit $4.61 a mile.

Los Angeles to Chicago averaged $3.13 per mile for spot van freight and the number of loads moved soared 39.9% in the last four weeks. The ongoing chassis trailer shortage has been exacerbated by higher-than-normal container dwell times for local container delivery and intermodal rail cars to move containers east. All of this is contributing to higher spot market truckload volumes off the West Coast as shippers struggle with reduced intermodal capacity on freight lanes to congested inland destinations.

The number of reefer loads rose 4% last week while truck posts declined 1%. The national average reefer load-to-truck ratio inched up from 12.8 to 13.5 last week and the national average spot reefer rate rose 1.7% to an average of $3.15 per mile (rates include a fuel surcharge).

The national average spot flatbed rate held at $3 per mile last week, 11 cents less than the July average. Flatbed load-post volumes fell 2% week over week and are now down 4% over the last month. Capacity tightened with an 8% decrease in equipment posts compared to the previous week, which pushed the flatbed load-to-truck ratio higher from 44.6 to 47.4.

National average spot rates are derived from DAT RateView, a database of $110 billion in actual market transactions. Get the latest spot pricing information at or take a deeper dive with Market Insights at

Stay safe, and thank you for your hard work. LL

Check out the July 13, 2021, DAT report for Land Line here.

OOIDA offers a MembersEdge discount on DAT services to its members.