Flatbed1 Photo: Sean Kilcarr/American Trucker
Flatbed spot rates slipped a penny per mile for the week ending Jan. 27, DAT said.

DAT: More capacity returning to the spot market

Spot load-to-truck ratios are easing off from record highs as capacity has increased 8.3% week-to-week, load board operator says.

Based on data tracked by DAT Solutions, national average spot rates for TL freight declined for the third straight week, though they remain than at any point in 2017.

During the week ending Jan. 27, DAT said dry van and flatbed rates each fell a penny to $2.26 per mile and $2.39 per mile, respectively, while spot rates for refrigerated or “reefer” freight decreased three cents to $2.67 per mile as produce and other temperature-controlled goods experienced what the company called a “seasonal lull.”

Furthermore, spot load-to-truck ratios are easing off from record highs as the number of available loads fell 3% during the week ending Jan. 27 while capacity increased 8.3% compared to the previous week:

  • Dry van: 8.5 available loads per truck, down from 9.8
  • Flatbed: 53.9 loads per truck, unchanged
  • Reefer: 12.8 loads per truck, falling from 12.8

Spot dry van freight volumes declined 5% and truck posts increased 10%, DAT noted, forcing spot rates down in several big TL markets:

  • Chicago: down 15 cents to $2.92 per mile
  • Columbus, OH: down nine cents to $2.78 per mile
  • Philadelphia: down 10 cents to $2.34 per mile
  • Charlotte, NC: down five cents to $2.57 per mile
  • Los Angeles: down 12 cents to $2.42 per mile

In the reefer market, load posts fell 14% and truck posts increased 4%, which helped push down the national average spot rate for reefer service despite strong prices in key markets, such as Green Bay, which was up 18 cents to $4.18 per mile, DAT said

Still, spot rates dipped in other key reefer lanes, such as: McAllen, TX (down four cents to $2.95 per mile); Atlanta (down four cents to $2.89 per mile), and Los Angeles (down 13 cents to $3.19 per mile), the firm noted.

Spot prices for flatbed freight remain seasonally high, however. Even though the national average flatbed rate slipped a penny a mile for the week ending Jan. 27 compared to the previous week, it’s been “buoyed” in DAT’s words by stronger construction and oilfield activity.

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