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Spot rates soften even as demand grows

Spot rates soften even as demand grows

A 7.7% gain in spot truckload freight volume and a 2.1% dip in capacity were not enough to buoy spot truckload rates during the week ending Feb. 4, said DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

The national average flatbed rate showed a modest gain while van and refrigerated freight rates both fell last week. These rates for each trailer type remain higher than they were in February 2016, however.


Flatbed load availability jumped 21% while the number of flatbed truck posts was virtually unchanged. That led to a 21% increase in the flatbed load-to-truck ratio to 21.9 loads per truck nationally. The average flatbed rate edged up 1 cent to $1.92/mile—that's the third straight week of penny-a-mile rate increases.

Regionally, spot flatbed rates were mixed as several top-paying lanes experienced a drop-off or modest gains:

  • Reno-Watsonville, Calif.: $3.25/mile, down 43 cents
  • Houston-Fort Worth: $2.13/mile, down 6 cents
  • Roanoke, Va.-Springfield, Ill.: $2.83/mile, unchanged
  • Baltimore-Springfield: $2.85/mile, down 38 cents


The spot market for vans was steady last week as the number of load posts increased less than 1% and truck posts fell 2%. The load-to-truck ratio gained 3% to 2.6 loads per truck and the national average rate slipped 3 cents lower to $1.66/mile. 

Outbound rates declined in many major markets: 

  • Dallas, $1.51/mile, down 1 cent
  • Atlanta, $1.85/mile, down 1 cent
  • Philadelphia, $1.62/mile, unchanged
  • Chicago, $1.96/mile, down 5 cents
  • Los Angeles, $1.90/mile, down 5 cents

In the West, Stockton, Seattle, and Denver all slipped 5 cents lower compared to the previous week, and Denver-Chicago dropped below $1 a mile (97 cents/mile, down 2 cents)


The reefer load-to-truck ratio fell 3% to 5.2 nationally as the number of available loads dipped 5% and capacity was down 3%. The average reefer rate lost 6 cents to $1.91/mile, continuing a pattern of weekly post-holiday declines.

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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