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Tractors line up just outside San Antonio to haul emergency relief supplies into areas affected by Hurricane Harvey Photo US Air Force
<p>Tractors line up just outside San Antonio to haul emergency relief supplies into areas affected by Hurricane Harvey. (<em>Photo: U.S. Air Force</em>)</p>

DAT: Truck capacity falling in wake of Hurricane Harvey

Truckload freight rates are also climbing in the wake of the storm that hit Texas nearly two weeks ago.

Available truckload capacity declined 4.3% during the week that ended on Sept. 2, according to data tracked by DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards – even as freight availability increased on the spot market by 2.9%

National average freight rates also jumped up compared to the previous week, DAT said:

  • Van: $1.90 per mile, up 12 cents
  • Flatbed: $2.20 per mile, up 2 cents
  • Reefer: $2.10 per mile, up 3 cents

Those rates include a fuel surcharge but not accessorial fees that compensate the carrier for loading, unloading, layovers, and detention, all of which have likely risen significantly for trucks carrying relief supplies, the firm noted.

The rearrangement of supply chains, the difficulty of shipping in the flooded region, and a tightening spot market all combined to push rates higher on 78 of the top 100 van lanes in the country, DAT said.

The company also noted several direct effects from Hurricane Harvey on freight shipments:

  • The number of available outbound loads from Houston plunged 72% compared to the previous week, when the storm came ashore late on Friday, Aug. 25.
  • Despite the loss of volume, the average outbound spot van rate from Houston increased 20% to $2.03 per mile.
  • Houston-outbound lanes with significant rate changes during the week ending Sept. 2: Houston to New Orleans: $3.21 per mile, up 89 cents, with volume on this lane down 80%; Houston to Dallas: $2.57 per mile, up 46 cents, with volume down 65%; Houston to Laredo: $1.76 per mile, up 26 cents; Houston to Oklahoma City: $2.19 per mile, up 24 cents.
  • Houston-inbound lanes with significant rate changes during the same period: Dallas to Houston: $4 per mile, up $1.60, with DAT noting it has never reported anything close to $4 per mile on this lane before; Denver to Houston, $1.63 per mile, up 59 cents, which is the largest ever weekly jump on a Denver lane, according to the firm’s data.
  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other organizations continue to gather emergency supplies in warehouses and distribution centers on the outskirts of San Antonio, Dallas, Austin, Lafayette, La., and other metro areas, until trucks can enter the storm zone.
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