Spot demand ‘solid’ for holiday week

Spot demand ‘solid’ for holiday week

The number of loads on the DAT network of load boards fell 13% during the week ending Sept. 10 while the number of trucks dropped 15%, but those are actually strong results considering the Labor Day holiday, the DAT Solutions report noted.

A 20% decline in all load board activity during a four-day, holiday-shortened workweek could be expected; instead, demand and load-to-truck ratios were solid for all three equipment types:

  • Van L/T ratio: 3.2, essentially unchanged from last week when the ratio was the highest since early July
  • Reefer L/T ratio: 6.0. Down 9% but a very strong number for this time of year
  • Flatbed L/T ratio: 12.2. Up 21%, a big increase even though rates fell by a couple of cents

The national average van rate held at $1.66/mile, the reefer rate added 2 cents to $1.93/mile, and the flatbed rate lost 3 cents, falling to $1.87/mile.


Van load posts and truck posts both declined 17%, indicating relative strength for a four-day week. 

Texas volumes improved and rates were up on most major outbound lanes from Dallas ($1.55/mile as an average, up 3 cents). Other top van markets by region: 

  • West: Los Angeles, $2.03/mile, down 2 cents
  • Midwest: Chicago, $1.99/mile, down 2 cents
  • Southeast: Charlotte, $1.92/mile, down 3 cents
  • Northeast: Allentown, Pa., $2.01/mile, down 3 cents


Reefer volumes stayed ahead of expectations during the Labor Day week. Load posts fell 17% and truck posts declined 9%. 

Demand for reefers was strongest up north; Chicago, Elizabeth, N.J., and Grand Rapids, Mich., were the top 3 markets for load posts. Other major reefer lanes remained solid last week:

  • Disappointing apple volumes had been hurting prices in Grand Rapids but rates there improved. The average Grand Rapids-Madison rate rose 29 cents to an average of $2.75/mile.
  • Chicago-Kansas City improved by 19 cents to $2.21/mile.
  • Sacramento averaged $2.39/mile outbound, up 10 cents. Sacramento-Denver surged another 24 cents to $2.35/mile.
  • Elizabeth-Boston was down 17 cents to $3.37/mile. That might sound high but tolls and traffic can erode your margin. Plus it’s hard to find a load out of Boston.


Flatbed load posts edged down 3%, a strong showing for a holiday week. Truck posts fell 20% accordingly.

The national average price of diesel was $2.40/gallon, down 1 cent from the previous week.

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

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.