BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — After falling for five straight weeks and declining in 12 of 16 weeks this year, broker-posted spot rates for refrigerated equipment in the Truckstop system saw their largest increase of 2023 during the week ended April 28 (week 17).
Dry van rates, which had not risen in seven weeks and had increased only in three weeks this year, also edged slightly higher. Historical patterns suggest that van segment rates might have bottomed out, but rates likely will rise later this month in any case.
Total load activity increased 5.4% and was up for a third straight week, which had not happened since the second week of this year. Volume was about 48% below the same week last year and more than 21% below the five-year average. Loads were down in the Midwest and Mountain Central region but up in all other regions week-over-week. Truck postings barely budged, and the Market Demand Index — the ratio of loads to trucks — rose to its highest level in seven weeks.
The total broker-posted rate rose slightly more than 1 cent, which was half as large as the prior week’s increase. The total market rate was nearly 22% below the same 2022 week but about 3% above the five-year average. Due mostly to flatbed’s strength, total rates have remained above the five-year average since the summer of 2020, but rates will have to continue rising to remain above average by June. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s International Roadcheck event to be held May 16-18 likely will spur notable rate increases in all segments heading into traditional rate strength in June.
Dry van spot rates ticked up less than 1 cent, but the gain ended a seven-week streak of decreases. Rates were more than 23% below the same 2022 week and about 7% below the five-year average for the week. Dry van loads rose nearly 9% for the largest increase since the beginning of the year. Volume was nearly 41% below the same week last year and almost 10% below the five-year average for the week. Volume was up from the prior week in all regions except the Midwest.
Refrigerated spot rates rose nearly 6 cents, which is the largest increase since the final week of 2022. Rates were 19% below the same 2022 week and more than 7% below the five-year average for the week. Refrigerated loads rose more than 10% for the largest gain since the beginning of February. Volume was 51% below the same week last year and about 22% below the five-year average for the week. Strong volume growth on the West Coast, South Central, and Southeast regions offset declines elsewhere.
Flatbed spot rates increased about 2 cents. Rates were about 22% below the same 2022 week but about 7% above the five-year average for the week. Flatbed loads rose nearly 4% after jumping more than 10% in the previous week. Volume was almost 55% below the same week last year and more than 30% below the five-year average for the week. Load activity down in the Midwest but up in all other regions.
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.