Spot truckload rates hit 2-year highs

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have come and gone but their effects on supply chains continue.

The number of available loads on the spot truckload freight market increased 27% during the week ending Sept. 16, said DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards. A 20-25% week-over-week increase in loads is not unexpected for the first full workweek after a holiday.

However, the number of available trucks rose just 19% at a time when capacity is already tight. National average spot TL rates remain at two-year highs:

Van: $1.93/mile, unchanged

Flatbed: $2.24/mile, unchanged

Reefer: $2.18/mile, up 1 cent

Load-to-truck ratios on the spot market are elevated as well:

Van L/T ratio: 6.6

Flatbed L/T ratio: 41.1

Reefer L/T ratio: 11.9

Nationally, van load posts and truck posts both increased 20% while the number of reefer load posts gained 18% and capacity was up 12%. The most substantial increase was in the flatbed segment, where the number of load posts was up 41% and truck posts increased 19%. At 41.1, the flatbed load-to-truck ratio is the highest since peak season in April.

Regionally, supply chains adjusted to the aftermath of two major storms. In Florida, van freight volumes increased on lanes from Atlanta and Charlotte, as did average van rates:

- Atlanta-Lakeland, up 70 cents to $3.65/mile

- Atlanta-Miami, up 54 cents to $3.19/mile

- Charlotte-Lakeland, up 42 cents to $3.32/mile

Chicago and Columbus outbound van rates have risen 14% and 15% in the past month, since the Midwest hubs have been in position to facilitate rerouted freight from both Harvey and Irma.

Rates fell on only 35 of the top 100 van lanes, mostly in Texas where pricing continues to normalize after hitting historic highs following Hurricane Harvey. Dallas-Houston fell 54 cents but is still high at $2.96/mile.

The spot reefer market for Florida freight reflected similar trends: Atlanta-Miami, for instance, jumped 68 cents to $3.34/mile last week, and Atlanta-Lakeland added 52 cents at $3.89/mile.

Diesel prices took a 1-cent step back to a national average of $2.79/gallon.

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 and join the conversation on Twitter with @LoadBoards.

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