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Spot truckload rates stay high despite Labor Day week slump

The total number of van, refrigerated, and flatbed loads posted on DAT load boards was down 19% while available capacity fell 14% during the week ending September 6, 2014, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards. The short Labor Day week typically causes a 20% decline in load board activity.

Nationally, average spot truckload rates are strong and increased for all three major equipment types compared with the previous week.

The national average van rate rose for the first time in five weeks, up 4 cents to $2.04 per mile. Rates slowed across the West, including a 9-cent drop out of Seattle WA to $1.40 per mile. Looking at market demand, van freight availability dropped 19% while capacity slipped 14%. The result was a load-to-truck ratio of 3.5, meaning there were 3.5 van loads posted for every van available on DAT load boards, a 5.6% decline versus the previous week.

The national average spot rate for refrigerated freight surged 4 cents to $2.32 per mile. Reefer freight availability was down 21% the week ending September 6 while capacity fell 15%, producing a reefer load-to-truck ratio of 10.1 (-6.7%).

The national average flatbed rate recovered 1 cent to $2.44 per mile. Load availability declined 18% for flatbeds and capacity dropped 14%. The load-to-truck ratio fell 4.4%, from 37.6 to 36.0 loads per truck.

The national average fuel price remains unchanged at $3.81.

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, which provides real-time reports on prevailing spot market and contract rates, as well as historical rate and capacity trends. RateView’s database consists of more than $24 billion in freight bills in more than 65,000 lanes.

For complete national and regional reports on spot rates, access

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