Spot Rates Strong to End Year

Truckload freight availability on the spot market was generally stable during the week ending Jan. 3, up 0.8 percent, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards. 

The figure reflects strong demand for truckload capacity given the time of year, DAT says. The number of available trucks posted between Christmas and New Year’s Day fell 22 percent compared to the previous week, as more truckers than brokers appeared to take the week off.

Some of the key metrics from DAT Trendlines for the week:

  • National average spot market rates were steady: $2.07 per mile for van freight, down 1 cent; $2.31 per mile for flatbed freight, up 1 cent; and $2.38 for refrigerated freight, up 2 cents. These rates include a fuel charge, which fell 1 cent as a national average.
  • The reefer load-to-truck ratio increased 37 percent, from 10.2 to 13.9, while the flatbed load-to-truck ratio increased another 24 percent for the week, from 18.5 to 22.9 loads per truck.
  • The national average fuel price fell 7 cents (2.1 percent) to $3.14 per gallon. Declining fuel prices tend to have a dampening effect on spot market rates. When fuel prices slip, the surcharge drops and the total rate may decline accordingly.


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.

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. RateView's database is comprised of more than $24 billion in freight bills in more than 65,000 lanes.

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.

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