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Flatbed spot loads surge to open April

Flatbed spot loads surge to open April

Van loads, rates tumble after strong finish to March, DAT reports

After March closed with a spike in activity, spot truckload volume dipped 1% and the number of posted trucks increased 6.2% during the week ending April 9, reported DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Flatbed load volume rose 9% and capacity increased 3% compared to the previous week, resulting in a 6% increase in the load-to-truck ratio to 23.5. The national average flatbed rate rose 1 cent to $1.92 per mile with strong demand in the Southeast. 

Several markets in the region experienced higher average outbound rates, led by Jacksonville, Fla., up 18 cents to $2.45 per mile.

Van load posts fell 13% and truck posts increased 7% as rates trended down on 63 of the top 100 van lanes. Most of the adjustments were small: Los Angeles outbound fell a penny to an average of $1.84 per mile; Denver dropped 1 cent to $1.13; Buffalo fell 4 cents to $1.91; and Atlanta dipped 1 cent to $1.70. 

Nationally, the van load-to-truck ratio was 1.6, down from 1.9 the previous week, and the average van rate fell 4 cents to $1.53 per mile.

Reefer load posts declined 12% while truck posts gained 7% last week. As a result, the reefer load-to-truck ratio fell from 3.2 to 2.6 and the average reefer rate declined 2 cents to $1.80 per mile. 

Regionally, produce season is winding down in Florida while California is slowly improving; more produce from Mexico led to a surge in volume out of Nogales, AZ, DAT noted.

The national average diesel price was up 1 cent at $2.13 a gallon.

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.

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, according to DAT. Changes in the ratio often signal impending changes in rates.

For complete national and regional reports on spot rates and demand, visit

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