Spot freight rate pressures ease in late July

July 31, 2014

Spot truckload freight demand and capacity eased somewhat during the week ending July 26, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards. The trend was most noticeable for vans and reefers.

 The national average van rate fell three cents (1.4%) to $2.07 per mile (including fuel surcharge), historically strong despite a typical late-summer decline. Van load availability fell 5.4% while capacity increased 3.5% for the week. 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 load boards.

The national average rate for refrigerated loads dropped four cents (1.7%) to $2.36 per mile, continuing a seasonal slide. The number of posted loads edged down 1.7% as truckload capacity increased just 1.3% compared with the previous week. The resulting refrigerated load-to-truck ratio fell 2.9% from 8.1 to 7.9 loads per truck, a moderate level for the last full week of July.

 Flatbed equipment continues to be in demand and rates remain strong, although the national average rate for flatbeds lost three cents (1.2%) to $2.44 per mile. Flatbed load availability dipped 3.2% for the week ending July 26 while truckload capacity added 7.8%, producing a flatbed load-to-truck ratio of 31.9. That’s off 10% versus the previous week but still a favorable ratio for carriers.

 The national average fuel price was $3.86 a gallon, down one cent from the previous week.

 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. Changes in the ratio often signal impending changes in rates. Rates are derived from DAT RateView.

 For complete national and regional reports on spot rates and demand, access