The number of loads on the DAT network of load boards fell 13% during the week ending Sept. 10 while the number of trucks dropped 15%, but those are actually strong results considering the Labor Day holiday, the DAT Solutions report noted.
A 20% decline in all load board activity during a four-day, holiday-shortened workweek could be expected; instead, demand and load-to-truck ratios were solid for all three equipment types:
- Van L/T ratio: 3.2, essentially unchanged from last week when the ratio was the highest since early July
- Reefer L/T ratio: 6.0. Down 9% but a very strong number for this time of year
- Flatbed L/T ratio: 12.2. Up 21%, a big increase even though rates fell by a couple of cents
The national average van rate held at $1.66/mile, the reefer rate added 2 cents to $1.93/mile, and the flatbed rate lost 3 cents, falling to $1.87/mile.
Van load posts and truck posts both declined 17%, indicating relative strength for a four-day week.
Texas volumes improved and rates were up on most major outbound lanes from Dallas ($1.55/mile as an average, up 3 cents). Other top van markets by region:
- West: Los Angeles, $2.03/mile, down 2 cents
- Midwest: Chicago, $1.99/mile, down 2 cents
- Southeast: Charlotte, $1.92/mile, down 3 cents
- Northeast: Allentown, Pa., $2.01/mile, down 3 cents
Reefer volumes stayed ahead of expectations during the Labor Day week. Load posts fell 17% and truck posts declined 9%.
Demand for reefers was strongest up north; Chicago, Elizabeth, N.J., and Grand Rapids, Mich., were the top 3 markets for load posts. Other major reefer lanes remained solid last week:
- Disappointing apple volumes had been hurting prices in Grand Rapids but rates there improved. The average Grand Rapids-Madison rate rose 29 cents to an average of $2.75/mile.
- Chicago-Kansas City improved by 19 cents to $2.21/mile.
- Sacramento averaged $2.39/mile outbound, up 10 cents. Sacramento-Denver surged another 24 cents to $2.35/mile.
- Elizabeth-Boston was down 17 cents to $3.37/mile. That might sound high but tolls and traffic can erode your margin. Plus it’s hard to find a load out of Boston.
Flatbed load posts edged down 3%, a strong showing for a holiday week. Truck posts fell 20% accordingly.
The national average price of diesel was $2.40/gallon, down 1 cent from the previous week.
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.
Get the latest rate trends at DAT.com