Spot volume stuck in deep freeze

Spot volume stuck in deep freeze

Spot truckload freight volume continued a seasonal decline, falling 12% during the week ending Jan. 28, said DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards. 

Unlike this time last year, spot freight activity did not dropped off sharply toward the end of January. The national average van and refrigerated freight rates each fell 1 cent per mile while the national average flatbed rate gained 1 cent. 

There was 4.8% more available capacity.


Van load posts were 9% lower last week and truck posts increased 4%, which sent the load-to-truck ratio down 13% to 2.5 loads per truck. The national average van rate edged down 1 cent to $1.69/mile and slipped again in key markets: 

 Los Angeles, $1.95/mile, down 3 cents
Chicago, $2.01/mile, down 6 cents
Houston, $1.54/mile, unchanged
Atlanta, $1.88/mile, down 1 cent
Buffalo, $1.94/mile, down 3 cents

While Houston was one of a few major markets where prices did not decline last week, outbound lanes from Dallas fell off the pace:

Dallas-Chicago paid an average of $1.13/mile, a penny lower
Dallas-Houston dropped 6 cents to $2.09/mile


While volumes actually improved on the top 72 lanes for refrigerated freight, the reefer load-to-truck ratio fell a full 20% to 5.3 nationally as the number of posted reefer loads was down 14% and capacity rose 8%. The average reefer rate lost 1 cent to $1.97/mile.

No single market or region is driving produce freight right now, so volumes are shifting around the country. Last week, the big swings were in the Midwest. The average rate from Grand Rapids-Madison, WI rose 31 cents to $2.71/mile, while Green Bay-Des Moines paid 13 cents better at $2.20/mile.

Green Bay and Grand Rapids also happened to have two of the biggest declines last week. Green Bay-Joliet, IL was down 31 cents to $2.92/mile, and Grand Rapids-Atlanta fell 25 cents to an average of $2.12/mile.


Flatbed load posts declined 15% and truck posts rose 3%. The load-to-truck ratio fell 17% to 18.1 loads per truck and the national average rate actually gained a penny to $1.91/mile.

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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