Spot-market demand, rates in flux

August 9, 2019

Land Line Staff


The good news first: load posts on DAT MembersEdge increased 7% last week and truck posts edged down 5% overall, which pushed load-to-truck ratios higher for all equipment types.

But demand for trucks slowed as the week progressed, and spot rates entered the weekend well below the averages for July.

National average spot rates through Aug. 4

  • Van: $1.80 per mile, 4 cents lower than the July average.
  • Reefer: $2.09 per mile, 10 cents lower than July.
  • Flatbed: $2.24 per mile, 3 cents lower than July.

H2 Van trends

The van load-to-truck ratio increased from 1.9 to 2.2 and the average spot rate was higher on 42 of the DAT Top 100 van lanes.

Volumes held steady in many markets, with the strongest gains coming from Philadelphia. Spot volumes increased 4% and the average outbound rate added 7 cents to $1.75 per mile last week as a bubble of freight in the supply chain moved through the Northeast region.

  • Philadelphia to Boston rose 15 cents to $3.54 per mile.
  • Philadelphia to Buffalo was also up 15 cents to $2.34 per mile.

While the East was up, van volumes and rates slipped in the West. Los Angeles spot van volume fell 1% and the average outbound rate surrendered 3 cents to $2.25 per mile.

H2 Reefer trends

The national average reefer load-to-truck ratio increased from 3.5 to 4.2 last week. Spot reefer volumes were up in Los Angeles (11%), Nogales, Arizona (11%), and McAllen, Texas (25%), but not enough to boost the average outbound rate. Pricing remains volatile on key lanes, a reminder that we’re in produce season:

  • Philadelphia to Miami rose 23 cents to $2.06 per mile.
  • Los Angeles to Phoenix increased 7 cents to $3.25 per mile.
  • Grand Rapids, Mich., to Cleveland, Ohio, declined 25 cents to $3.09 per mile.
  • McAllen, Texas, to Atlanta dropped 29 cents to $1.96 per mile.

H2 Tri-haul of the week
Indianapolis to Philadelphia averaged $2.53 per mile for vans last week but the return trip paid only $1.34 per mile. To boost your revenue, the tri-haul function in MembersEdge suggests a third leg to Buffalo.

Philadelphia to Buffalo averaged $2.34 per mile last week while Buffalo to Indianapolis paid $1.62 per mile for an average $1.94 per mile on the straight round trip. The tri-haul, however, averaged $2.18 per mile. With 239 additional miles, the extra leg would increase revenue by $846 for the trip if you can make it work with your schedule.

As always, these rates represent averages from last week. It’s up to you to 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 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.