At times, snow may have kept freight from moving last week but it didn’t prevent shippers from trying.
The number of available loads on the spot truckload market jumped 8% for the week ending March 18, reported DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards. Available capacity fell 3.4% as many truckers pulled equipment off the roads in anticipation of bad weather.
The week began with a push to move freight ahead of storms in the Midwest and East. Shippers rushed to catch up once the roads were clear, and load-to-truck ratios rose for all three equipment types:
- Van ratio: 3.4 loads per truck, up 23% to its highest point this year
- Reefer ratio: 6.6, up 16%
- Flatbed ratio: 37.4, up 5%
Only the van rate increased as a national average compared to the previous week, gaining 1 cent to $1.64/mile. The reefer rate ($1.87/mile) and flatbed rate ($2.01/mile) were unchanged.
The storm affected van activity in and out of East Coast markets. The average van rate gained 20 cents or more in one week on three lanes in the region:
- Buffalo-Allentown, Pa., was up 22 cents to $2.80/mile
- Allentown-Boston also paid 22 cents better at $3.19/mile
- Philadelphia-Boston rose 21 cents to $3.27/mile
The average Allentown outbound rate gained 9 cents to $1.93/mile, while Philadelphia averaged $1.59/mile, up a penny.
Reefer load posts increased 16% last week. A number of markets in the Southwest saw higher freight volumes and rates, led by Los Angeles ($2.27/mile, up 4 cents). Central California remains soft: in Fresno, volumes declined and the average rate fell 2 cents to $1.81/mile.
Other key reefer markets:
- Green Bay: $2.63/mile, up 4 cents
- McAllen, Texas: $2.08/mile, up 16 cents
- Dallas: $1.73/mile, up 2 cents
- Elizabeth, N.J.: $1.70/mile, up 6 cents
The flatbed load-to-truck ratio increased for the seventh week in a row as outbound load volume held steady and available capacity declined 5%.
Big rate swings were likely due to weather:
- Charlotte-Roanoke, Va., was up 37 cents to $2.95/mile
- Harrisburg-Buffalo plunged 76 cents better to $2.44/mile
- Cleveland-Grand Rapids, Mich., fell 67 cents to $2.27/mile
You won't find snow in Houston, though. Freight volumes and rates there continued to climb, and flatbed freight averaged $2.13/mile, up 3 cents. If you look at all load posts on the DAT network of load boards, with all trailer types combined, Houston is No. 1 so far in 2017.
Other regional flatbed markets were up and down:
- Phoenix: $1.71/mile, up 9 cents
- Rock Island, Ill.: $2.34/mile, down 15 cents
- Atlanta: $2.22/mile, down 7 cents
- Harrisburg: $2.99/mile, down 15 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.
For the latest spot market load availability and rate information, visit dat.com/trendlines and join the conversation on Twitter with @LoadBoards.