DAT: Spot TL capacity loosens

DAT: Spot TL capacity loosens

Truckers hit the road again after a spate of bad weather, and available capacity on the spot truckload market jumped 5.7% for the week ending March 25, reported DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards. 

While volumes picked up on many top lanes, the total number of available loads dipped 0.4% and load-to-truck ratios slipped:

Van ratio: 3.2 loads per truck, down 6%
Reefer ratio: 6.3, down 4%
Flatbed ratio: 35.8, down 4%

The national average diesel price fell 1 cent to $2.53/gallon.

More capacity, less freight, and a 1-cent lower fuel surcharge compared to the previous week caused national average van and reefer spot rates to fall 1 cent per mile. The national average flatbed rate rose a penny.


The national average spot truckload van rate was $1.63/mile, 1 cent lower due to the reduced fuel surcharge. Key regional trends:

  • California: Los Angeles averaged $1.83/mile, up 1 cent. Volumes in California are improving slowly. As that happens, rates should improve in order to attract capacity.
  • Texas: The state is a hot spot for van freight, with Dallas adding 3 cents per mile to $1.56/mile.
  • Chicago: Chicago averaged 2 cents higher at $1.94/mile. Key lane: Chicago-Buffalo, up 18 cents to $2.33/mile.


At $1.86/mile, the average spot reefer rate is up just 1.5% from late February despite a 14% uptick in volume on the high-traffic lanes.

Denver outbound rates rose 10 cents to $1.38/mile. Denver-Phoenix averaged $1.77/mile, well above the norm. With the NCAA Final Four in Glendale this weekend, those beer coolers apparently need filling. 

Other markets to watch:

  • Green Bay, $2.64/mile, up 2 cents
  • Dallas, $1.85/mile, up 9 cents
  • Lakeland, Fla., $1.36/mile, down 6 cents

Northeast markets calmed down after the winter weather passed. Elizabeth, N.J.-Boston thawed out, dropping 46 cents to $3.67/mile, and Philadelphia-Boston was down 15 cents to $3.35/mile.


The flatbed load-to-truck ratio declined slightly after seven straight weeks of increases. Load posts fell 1% and truck posts increased 3% compared to 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

TAGS: News
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