DAT Trendlines reports that early indications show an unusually strong freight market both month-over-month and year-over-year.
The number of available loads on the spot truckload freight market jumped 5.4 percent during the week ended September 30 and tight capacity sent the load-to-truck ratio for van freight into uncharted territory, said DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.
Overall, the number of available trucks dropped 3.2 percent last week and pushed load-to-truck ratios higher for all three equipment types:
Van: 7.0 loads per truck, up 10 percent
Flatbed: 50.2 loads per truck, up 16 percent
Refrigerated: 12.4 loads per truck, up 2 percent
National average spot TL rates continue to simmer at two-year highs:
Van: $1.97/mile, up 3 cents compared to the previous week. That’s 19 cents higher versus the same period in August and 35 cents higher year-over-year
Flatbed: $2.27/mile, up 2 cents (up 8 cents month-over-month)
Reefer: $2.23/mile, up 1 cent (up 15 cents month-over-month)
In the spot van market, the national average rate rose for the fifth straight week. Rates and volumes are coming back down to normal after the storms in the Southeast, but supply chains throughout the rest of the country are still feeling the ripple effects.
Rates to Southeast markets picked up due to strong seasonal demand and supply-chain disruptions following Hurricanes Irma and Harvey.
Reefer load posts increased 1 percent and truck posts declined 1 percent last week. The ratio of 12.4 reefer loads per truck is the highest in years. Likewise, flatbed freight is moving in larger volumes to support rebuilding efforts in Florida and the Gulf Coast. Last week, flatbed load posts increased 7 percent and truck posts declined 8 percent, which caused the load-to-truck ratio to rise to 50.2 loads per truck, the highest in recent memory.
Notably, the week ended September 30 marks the end of the third quarter and truck capacity tends to be in higher demand before the close of a business quarter as shippers look to move inventory.
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 dat.com/industry-trends/trendlines and join the conversation on Twitter with @LoadBoards.