Led by strong regional demand, spot truckload rates rose across all three equipment types during the week ending March 19, reported DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.
The number of spot market loads increased 8.7% compared to the previous week while the amount of available capacity was virtually unchanged. The national average van rate rose 3 cents to $1.58 per mile, the reefer rate added 2 cents to $1.83, and the flatbed rate jumped 5 cents to $1.87.
Much of the gains resulted from specific markets.
Nationally, the van load-to-truck ratio increased from 1.5 to 1.6, meaning there were 1.6 van loads for every truck posted on the DAT network. Van load posts rose 7% last week while truck posts stayed the same.
Regionally, outbound rates from Los Angeles were up 6 cents to an average $1.89 per mile, mostly on increased activity at the ports. Outbound van rates increased in other major markets including Chicago (up 2 cents to $1.75), Atlanta (up 3 cents to $1.60), and Philadelphia (up 5 cents to $1.70).
Reefer load posts rose 10% while truck posts added 1% last week. As a result, the load-to-truck ratio gained 9% to 3.3 and the national average reefer rate increased 2 cents to $1.83 per mile.
Flatbed load volume rose 11% and capacity declined 3%, propelling the load-to-truck ratio up 14% to 18.3. The national average flatbed rate increased 5 cents last week to $1.87 per mile.
The national average diesel price rose 2 cents to a national average of $2.12 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, DAT notes. Changes in the ratio often signal impending changes in rates.
DAT Trendlines is a weekly report on spot market freight availability, truck capacity, and rates.