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Spot freight takes seasonal dip, but rates rise

Spot freight takes seasonal dip, but rates rise

Spot truckload freight volume fell 2% during the first week of April, a typical decline compared to the last week of March when shippers are rushing to move freight before closing their books on Q1, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the industry’s largest electronic freight marketplace.

National average spot truckload rates strengthened, however:

  • Vans: $1.69/mile, up 6 cents
  • Reefers: $1.93/mile, up 6 cents
  • Flatbeds: $2.07/mile, up 4 cents

The number of refrigerated load and truck posts was virtually unchanged compared to the previous week. The reefer load-to-truck ratio rose slightly to 6.8 loads per truck. A 6% drop in van load posts contributed to an 8% decline in the van load-to-truck ratio to 3.4.

Flatbed load posts held steady and truck posts increased 4%, which sent the flatbed load-to-truck ratio down 4% to 39.1.


Van load counts in Atlanta rose and the average outbound rate gained 2 cents to $1.94/mile last week. Rates increased on major inbound lanes, unusual for this time of year. Memphis-Atlanta paid 13 cents better at an average of $2.23/mile compared to last week.

Freight volumes and rates slipped in the Charlotte market, which lost fruit in a mid-March freeze. That seemed to have a spillover effect into van capacity: Charlotte van rates dropped 3 cents to $1.89/mile.


Produce is picking up momentum as the average outbound reefer rate from Lakeland, Fla., gained 9 cents to $1.48/mile. Reefer load counts are expected to build in southern border markets as avocados and other goods ship out ahead of Cinco de Mayo. 

At $2.04/mile, McAllen, Texas, was unchanged compared to the previous week. Shipments out of the Santa Maria District pushed rates up out of the Fresno market, while Los Angeles reefer freight averaged $2.34/mile, up 7 cents.

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

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