Hot Spots: Top-Gaining Freight Markets

The national average spot rate for van freight is up 4 cents since the end of April, according to TransCore's DAT Truckload Rate Index, ending at $1.38 per mile (not including fuel).

But it’s not a uniform increase. In our weekly survey of 64 major lanes, rates in 33 lanes declined and only 26 increased during the week of May 1-7.

The remaining lanes for spot freight were neutral, week over week. Spot freight is “exception” freight not covered by a pre-existing contract. Rather than re-negotiate contracts to obtain more capacity, many shippers turn to brokers to find additional trucks.

Key markets trending up: Memphis (+4.0%), recuperating a loss from last week, and Los Angeles (+2.7%). Dallas (-4.2%) and Denver (-4.1%) led the declining markets; other major markets remained relatively stable, marking changes in the 1% range in either direction.

Refrigerated spot freight markets remained stable as a national average, following the trend upward as produce season kicks into gear. Rates increased 1 cent as a national average, landing at $1.53 per mile, without fuel.

Flatbed rates gained steadily, up 3 cents for the week. Rates are trending up in significantly in Phoenix (+15.1%), Raleigh (+8.1%), and Baltimore (+7.2%). Rates shifted down Fort Worth (-3.1%) and Houston (-2.1%).

Flatbed rate growth this week seems to have outpaced any loss by a fair margin, but since Houston is such a large market for flatbed freight, the national average was kept in check.

Source: DAT Truckload Rate Index

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