National spot truckload rates were neutral or slightly down during the week ending Sept. 22 but remain roughly 20% higher year over year, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.
The national average spot van rate fell 1 cent to $2.15/mile, the refrigerated rate dipped 1 cent to $2.53/mile, and the flatbed rate declined 2 cents to $2.56/mile.
The overall number of loads posted decreased last week as road closures and limited access to the Carolinas likely prevented stronger demand from forming. This situation will likely turn around as relief and replenishment supplies move in.
One reason spot rates are higher is the price of fuel. The national average price of on-highway diesel was $3.27/gallon last week and is 23% higher compared to this time last year. Spot rates incorporate a fuel surcharge.
Van trends: The number of van load posts on DAT load boards fell 17% and truck posts dropped 21% compared to the previous week. That resulted in a 5% increase in the national load-to-truck ratio, moving up to 7.0 loads per truck. Van rates increased on several lanes from the Northeast and Southeast into Charlotte, including Philadelphia to Charlotte, which jumped 21 cents to $2.00/mile compared to the previous week.
Reefer trends: Reefer load posts declined 19% while truck posts fell 21% last week. That resulted in a 3% increase in the load-to-truck ratio, from 7.7 to 8.0 loads per truck. The average rate tumbled on several produce lanes in the Midwest and Southeast:
- Green Bay, Wisc., to Des Moines: $2.36/mile, down 39 cents
- Grand Rapids, Mich., to Philadelphia: $4.02/mile, down 18 cents
- Atlanta to Lakeland, Fla.: $3.35/mile, down 13 cents
Flatbed trends: Last week flatbed load posts fell 12% but truck posts declined 23% on DAT load boards. That caused the national flatbed load-to-truck ratio to jump 14% from 23.3 to 26.6 loads per truck. Among the lanes showing strength:
- Cleveland to Houston: $2.05/mile, up 28 cents
- Baltimore to Charlotte: $1.91/mile, up 12 cents
- Tampa to Atlanta: $1.75/mile, up 17 cents
DAT Trendlines is generated using DAT RateView, which provides real-time reports on prevailing spot market and contract rates, as well as historical rate and capacity trends. RateView's comprehensive database is comprised of more than $45 billion in freight bills in over 65,000 lanes. DAT load boards average 993,000 load posts per business day.