Truck supply swells and spot loads fall, but rates hold

Truck supply swells and spot loads fall, but rates hold

Despite a substantial shift in the balance of supply and demand, truck rates on the spot market managed to hold on last week.

The number of available trucks on the spot freight market increased 2.6% while the number of posted loads fell 6.4% during the week ending April 11, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

The load-to-truck balance shifted more in some segments than in others.

Nationally, the average van rate lost 1 cent to $1.91 per mile compared to the previous week as van capacity increased 3.1% and the number of available loads fell 9.0%. The average van load-to-truck ratio declined 12% to 3.1, meaning there were 3.1 available van loads for every truck posted on the DAT network.

Reefer truck capacity gained 6.5% while demand was down 15% in the first full week after Easter. The refrigerated load-to-truck ratio fell 20% to 6.3. The average spot rate for refrigerated freight was unchanged at $2.15 per mile. 

Key markets in the West and Midwest continue to gain, with rates up 13 cents to $2.11 per mile out of Sacramento and up 4 cents to $2.70 per mile out of Los Angeles, DAT notes. The average rate from Green Bay rose 3 cents to $2.72 per mile. 

Flatbed load availability was steady (up 0.5%) while capacity slipped 5.7% for a ratio of 22.3 loads per truck. The average flatbed rate increased a penny to $2.23 per mile.

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. DAT Trendlines is a weekly report on spot market freight availability, truck capacity, and rates.
 

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