Based on spot-market data that was somewhat skewed by the Fourth of July holiday falling on a weekday (as that meant one less day for posting trucks and freight), DAT Solutions has reported that “demand and capacity on the spot truckload market declined during the week ending July 5, while the average van rate surged to an all-time high.”

DAT said the van rate jumped 6 cents (3.4%) to $2.15 per mile, including fuel surcharges, to set a new record.

What’s more, DAT found that spot rates were markedly up across the equipment board for the week ending July 5.

The national average reefer rate rose 7 cents to $2.49 per mile “as growers and grocers paid a premium to make sure fruit and vegetables reached retail outlets ahead of the July 4 holiday,” DAT noted.

And the national average rate for flatbeds climbed 10 cents (4.1%) to $2.54 per mile.

Speculation holds that the rate increases scored last week were likely due to seasonal factors as well as market pressures, given the June 30th close of the fiscal quarter.  And, of course, reduced demand and capacity is typical for a holiday-shortened week.

As for van specifics, DAT said that both load availability and truckload capacity were stable last week on a per-day basis, “as overall load board activity fell 21% due to the short workweek.”

Compared to the previous week, the national van load-to-truck ratio increased 1.8% to 4.4. The company said that meant there were 4.4 loads posted for each truck available on the DAT network of load boards.

But the number of posted refrigerated loads on DAT load boards fell by 16%. However, the reefer load-to-truck ratio remained stable at 12 loads per truck.

As for flatbeds, the number of posted loads dropped 24% compared to the previous week and capacity plunged 29%. DAT said that resulted in a 7.4% increase in the national load-to-truck ratio and pointed out the load-to-truck ratio “remains robust at 46.7 posted loads per truck.”

DAT Solutions noted that load-to-truck ratios represent the number of loads posted for every truck posted on DAT load boards.

“The load-to-truck ratio is a sensitive, real-time indicator of the balance between spot market demand and capacity,” the company advised. “Changes in the ratio often signal impending changes in rates.” Rates are derived from DAT RateView.

Complete national and regional reports on spot rates and demand are available via DAT Trendlines, a weekly report on spot-market freight availability, truck capacity and rates.