Spot market demand and capacity reflected softer demand for flatbed equipment and a static picture for van and refrigerated freight for the week ending August 17, according to DAT.
Data gleaned from the DAT Network of load boards indicated the national average rate for vans dipped 1 cent to $1.85 per mile); reefer rates showed no change at $2.20 per mile; and the average flatbed line haul rate fell 3 cents to $2.17. DAT emphasized that all of those rates incorporate carrier fuel surcharges.
Memphis gained 1 cent to $2.23 per mile, the best outbound rate for a major market. Elsewhere, Denver was the only major market in the West to post a gain, adding 3 cents to $1.32 per mile. Chicago and Columbus each added about 1 cent over the previous week (to $2.07 and $1.89, respectively), and rates in Houston averaged $1.47 per mile, up 6 cents for the week.
In other key markets, Los Angeles dropped 4 cents to $2.08 per mile. Buffalo, which gained 11 cents the previous week, lost 10 cents, falling back to $1.64 per mile. All told, van rates are down 2.5% compared to a month ago.
Van freight availability increased 3.2% for the week, boosting the load-to-truck ratio 3.3% from 2.6 to 2.7 as a national average. Load-to-truck ratios represent the number of loads posted for every truck posted on the DAT network of load boards.
The average spot market rate for refrigerated freight was unchanged at $2.20 per mile including fuel. In the West, rates rose in just three major reefer markets: Sacramento, Denver, and Twin Falls. Rates fell hard in agricultural markets in southern California, Phoenix, and Green Bay (down 8 cents to $2.24 per mile). McAllen, Texas, remained at $1.78 per mile for a second week, but the number of loads in the area took a big hit.
Reefer load availability increased 4.4% for the week as capacity tightened by 2.7%. The result was a 7.3% increase in the load-to-truck ratio, from 7.7 to 8.3 for the week.
Nationally, flatbed freight availability tumbled 9.4% and capacity dropped by 8.3%. The load-to-truck ratio fell 16% for the week, from 19.9 to 16.6. Reasons include a lull in construction as well as declining traffic at East Coast ports. Outbound flatbed rates dropped in all major freight markets in the Northeast, including an 11-cent decline outbound from Harrisburg, Pa., to $3.14 per mile, according to DAT.