DAT: Spot loads, capacity both up; flatbed rates climb

Freight availability on the spot truckload market was up 4.2% and capacity increased 7.6% during the week ending March 14, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards. 

The two factors usually move in opposite directions, the report noted.

Nationally, the average van and refrigerated rates were unchanged at $1.94 and $2.16 per mile, respectively. The flatbed rate gained 3 cents to $2.15 per mile. 

The higher national average flatbed rate was buoyed by strong Southern markets, according to the analysis. The average outbound rate from Jacksonville rose 20 cents to $2.86 per mile; Tampa added 8 cents to $1.46 per mile; Houston edged up a penny to $2.25 a mile; and Ft. Worth rose 5 cents to $1.99 per mile. The Houston-Bismarck lane jumped to $2.59 a mile, a 40-cent increase. 

Flatbed rates fell in other markets, and the national average van and reefer rates were unchanged. 

Van rates out of Los Angeles added another 4 cents last week, however, reaching $1.99 per mile.

Van freight availability on DAT load boards increased 2.5% while capacity jumped 7.4% compared to the previous week. The van load-to-truck ratio fell 4.6% from 3.7 loads per truck to 3.5, meaning there were 3.5 van loads posted for every available van trailer on DAT load boards last week.

Reefer freight availability fell 3% last week and capacity rose 11%, which sent the reefer load-to-truck ratio down 12% from 11 to 9.6. Flatbed load availability increased 12% while capacity added 5.3%; the flatbed load-to-truck ratio gained 6.3% from 13.9 to 14.8.

Load-to-truck ratios represent the number of loads posted for every truck available on DAT load boards. The load-to-truck ratio is a sensitive, real-time indicator of the balance between spot market demand and capacity, DAT says. Changes in the ratio often signal impending changes in rates.

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. For complete national and regional reports on spot rates and demand, visit dat.com/Trendlines. DAT Trendlines is a weekly report on spot market freight availability, truck capacity, and rates.

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