Spot truckload rates declined across all three equipment types during the week ending April 16, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.
The number of trucks posted on DAT load boards increased 4.5% while the number of available loads fell 6.4% compared to the previous week. However, demand was up in major markets, a signal that spot rates may soon rebound.
In the van market, load volume fell 6% and capacity increased 5% last week, resulting in a 1.4 van load-to-truck ratio, down 10%. The national average van rate fell 3 cents to $1.50 per mile, marking the third straight week of declines.
Several major markets experienced higher average outbound demand, particularly in the West, but in general rates have yet to firm up.
The number of posted refrigerated loads declined 1% last week while truck posts gained 4%. The reefer load-to-truck ratio fell 3% to 2.6 and the average spot rate fell 2 cents to $1.78 per mile. Reefer volumes increased across the Western U.S., where produce harvests are under way, yet rates were mixed. Demand for reefers remains solid in the Southeast where spot truckload freight volumes and prices both rose last week.
Flatbed load volume was down 9% and trucks were up 6%. Nationally, the flatbed load-to-truck ratio was 20.2, down from 23.5 the previous week. The average spot flatbed rate fell 1 cent to $1.91 per mile.
The national average diesel price rose 3 cents to $2.16 a gallon.
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.
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. Changes in the ratio often signal impending changes in rates.
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.