Spot loads, rates slip, but still seasonally strong, DAT reports

Spot loads, rates slip, but still seasonally strong, DAT reports

After spiking the week before, the number of available loads on the spot truckload freight market edged down 9% during the week ending Dec. 10, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Still, spot freight volume remains higher than usual given the time of year, although load-to-truck ratios dipped across all three equipment types:

  • Van L/T: 3.4 (down 28% from a 30-month high)
  • Reefer L/T: 6.1 (down 25%)
  • Flatbed L/T: 17.7 (down 6%)

With volumes down and the number of posted trucks up 15% last week, national average van and refrigerated rates declined slightly:

  • Vans: $1.73/mile, down 1 cent after an 8-cent increase the previous week
  • Reefers: $1.95/mile, down 1 cent
  • Flatbeds: $1.92/mile, up 1 cent

Fuel Increases Again: Spot TL rates include a fuel surcharge, which increased 1 cent on average after the national average price of on-highway diesel climbed another cent to $2.49/gallon.

Van Posts Drop 17%: The number of van load posts fell 17% and truck posts increased 15% week over week. At $2.10/mile, Los Angeles is the biggest van market where outbound rates are lower now than they were a month ago. Other key van lanes showed solid outbound rates for the season despite declines in some cases:

  • Denver, $1.38/mile, up 10 cents
  • Chicago, $2.09/mile, down 2 cents
  • Charlotte, $1.98/mile, down 4 cents
  • Buffalo, N.Y., $2.18/mile, up 4 cents
  • Houston, $1.51/mile, up 1 cent

Reefer Posts Fall 15%: The number of reefer load posts fell 15% and truck posts increased 15% last week. Idaho is at the epicenter of reefer activity with 80 million pounds of potatoes shipping out every week. Last Friday, the load-to-truck ratio in Twin Falls hit 18.5; by comparison, the national average is 6.1 reefer loads per truck.

Flatbed Freight Jumps: The number of flatbed load posts increased 7.5% and truck posts increased 14% compared to the previous week. Several outbound markets are showing signs of recovery in December:

  • Phoenix, $1.83/mile, down 1 cent last week but up over the last month
  • Rock Island, Ill., $2.37/mile, up 2 cents
  • Cleveland, $2.21/mile, up 5 cents
  • Savannah, Ga., $2.36/mile, up 9 cents
  • Harrisburg, Pa., $3.17/mile, up 13 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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