Spot loads, rates jump during Roadcheck week

June 12, 2019

Special to Land Line


National average spot rates and load-to-truck ratios on DAT MembersEdge jumped significantly last week, which included the three-day Roadcheck inspection blitz. Many drivers take the week off to avoid inspection-related delays and reduced productivity.

National average spot rates through June 9

  • Van: $1.93 per mile, 14 cents higher than the May average.
  • Reefer:  $2.29 per mile, 14 cents higher than May.
  • Flatbed: $2.27 per mile, 6 cents higher than May.
  • Diesel fell 3 cents to $3.10 per gallon as a national average.

Van trends

Spot rates were higher on 90 of the top 100 van lanes in the United States, and there were more loads posted last week than any other single week since September 2018. The van load-to-ratio increased from 2.6 to 3.8, two full points higher than the May average.

Where rates were rising

Most major markets were up compared to the previous week, led by Columbus, Ohio ($2.16 per mile average outbound, up 14 cents), Atlanta ($2.01 per mile, up 14 cents), and Allentown, Pa. ($2.12 per mile, up 13 cents). Key lanes:

  • Columbus to Buffalo added 41 cents to $3.21 per mile, after a 15-cent increase the previous week.
  • Chicago to Allentown jumped 31 cents to $2.66 per mile.
  • Atlanta to Philadelphia increased 29 cents to $2.64 per mile.

Reefer trends

The Roadcheck effect on reefer capacity was pronounced. The national average reefer load-to-truck ratio increased from 3.8 to 6.4 and rates were up on 47 of the top 72 reefer lanes. Freight volumes increased more than 20% out of Chicago, Green Bay, and Elizabeth, N.J., and were 15% higher from Los Angeles.

Where rates were rising

Produce shipments are moving after weeks of mostly weather-related disruptions in the Midwest. Rates were better on a wide range of lanes, including:

  • Nogales, Ariz., to Brooklyn, up 53 cents to $2.96 per mile.
  • Green Bay to Des Moines, up 44 cents to $3.25 per mile.
  • Elizabeth, N.J., to Boston, up 42 cents to $4.05 per mile.
  • Los Angeles to Denver, up 38 cents to $3.18 per mile.

Many falling lanes had one thing in common: a Florida origination point.

  • Miami to Baltimore plunged 41 cents to $2.06 per mile.
  • Miami to Boston dropped 32 cents to $2.13 per mile.
  • Lakeland to Atlanta was down 17 cents to $1.62 per mile

Tri-haul of the week


Nogales, Ariz., is part of the Tucson, Ariz., market and one of the busiest ports of entry for produce from Mexico. Last week DAT MembersEdge had more than 1,500 load posts there and just 73 truck posts for a load-to-truck ratio of 22. Let’s look for a reefer load there.

The average spot reefer rate from Nogales to Chicago was $2.42 per mile last week while the return averaged just $1.62 per mile, or $2.02 per mile for the round trip.

The tri-haul function on MembersEdge can highlight revenue-boosting routes. One option for the Chicago-Nogales leg is to route through Omaha, Neb. Chicago to Omaha averaged $2.03 per mile last week while Omaha to Nogales was $2.53 per mile. That’s a $2.41 per mile average or 39 cents more per loaded mile versus the straight round trip.

DAT tri-haul of the week chart

These rates represent averages from last week. It’s up to you to do your research, negotiate your best deal, and make sure a tri-haul will work with your schedule.

This summary’s month-to-date national average rates were generated using DAT RateView, which provides real-time reports on spot market and contract rates, as well as historical rate and capacity trends. The RateView database is comprised of more than $60 billion in freight payments. DAT load boards average 1.2 million load posts searched per business day.

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 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.