reefer-2 File photo
Refrigerated spot rates hit a three-year high, DAT said.

DAT: Spot rates spike over Thanksgiving

Refrigerated and dry van rates increased as truck availability declined over the holidays, firm says.

According to data tracked by DAT Solutions, the short Thanksgiving workweek resulted in 33% fewer loads and 26% fewer trucks being posted on its network of load boards.

That pushed spot rates up for refrigerated or “reefer” equipment and dry van capacity, with reefer spot rates reaching a three-year high for the week ending Nov. 25, the firm said:

  • Reefer: up 3 cents to $2.43 per mile compared to the previous week.
  • Dry Van: up a penny versus the previous week to $2.07 per mile.
  • Flatbed: unchanged week-over-week at $2.29 per mile.

In the reefer market, DAT said the number of loads posted to its network fell 38% while truck posts dropped 16%, causing the “reefer ratio” to decline 26% to 9.6 loads available per truck.

Several outbound reefer markets experienced double-digit average rate increases including: Los Angeles ($3.14 per mile, up 25 cents), Dallas ($2.32 per mile, up 10 cents), McAllen, Texas ($2.23 per mile, up 20 cents), and Philadelphia ($3.16 per mile, up 25 cents).

Dry van load post activity fell 26% and truck posts dropped 27% for the week of Nov. 25, DAT noted, but the dry van ratio increased slightly to 6.8 loads per truck.

Heading into December, “the outlook for dry van spot rates is strong and surging in key markets,” according to the firm’s data:

  • Los Angeles: $2.77 per mile, up 6 cents
  • Chicago: $2.82 per mile, up 12 cents
  • Memphis: $2.42 per mile, up 3 cents
  • Atlanta: $2.38 per mile, up 6 cents
  • Dallas: $1.87 per mile, up 11 cents
  • Buffalo, $2.58 per mile, up 13 cents
  • Philadelphia: $2.02 per mile, up 6 cents

Several dry van lanes witnessed spot rate spiked as well compared to the previous week:

  • Chicago-Detroit: $3.69 per mile, up 27 cents
  • Chicago-Los Angeles: $1.54 per mile, up 5 cents
  • Buffalo-Allentown: $3.76 per mile, up 36 cents
  • Dallas-Houston: $2.73 per mile, up 17 cents
  • Los Angeles-Phoenix: $3.64 per mile, up 24 cents

Flatbed load and truck posts were lower last week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, DAT noted, with load posts falling 39% and truck posts declining 35%. As a result, the flatbed load-to-truck ratio dipped 5% to 26.0 loads per truck, though DAT said that is still a high ratio.

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