On the spot market, both truckload demand and capacity slipped across the board during the week ending July 26, according to DAT Solutions, which operates a network of load boards.

In that last full week of July, DAT found that the national average spot-market van rate declined 3 cents (1.4%) to $2.07 per mile, including fuel surcharge).

At the same time, load availability fell 5.4% as truckload capacity rose 3.5%. DAT noted that the national van load-to-truck ratio dropped 8.6% to 2.7-- meaning there were 2.7 loads posted for every truck available on DAT’s load boards.

As for refrigerated freight, the national average rate dropped 4 cents (1.7%) to $2.36 per mile. That performance amounted to “continuing a seasonal slide,” stated DAT.

The number of posted reefer loads edged down by 1.7% as truckload capacity increased by merely1.3% compared to the week before. As a result, the reefer load-to-truck ratio fell 2.9% from 8.1 to 7.9 loads per truck, which DAT described as “a moderate level for the last full week of July.”

DAT said that “flatbed equipment continued to be in high demand and rates remained strong” last week. However, the company found that the national average rate for flatbeds lost 3 cents (1.2%), moving down to $2.44 per mile.

Flatbed load availability dipped 3.2% last week while truckload capacity added 7.8%-- to produce a flatbed load-to-truck ratio of 31.9. DAT remarked that the ratio was “off 10% compared to the previous week, but still a favorable ratio for carriers.”

DAT pointed out that the load-to-truck ratios that it reports for each week represent the number of loads posted for every truck posted on the company’s load boards.

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

DAT noted that it makes available weekly reports on spot rates and demand.