Data from Truckstop and FTR Transportation Intelligence for the week ending Oct. 28 showed little overall change in spot market rates or volume. However, individual regions and segments saw notable changes.
Flatbed and refrigerated spot rates saw only marginal declines, but the dry van segment saw its largest drop in broker-posted rates in seven weeks. Still, anaylists say, the decline was not “especially large.”
Spot load activity increased 2% after a 2.5% gain in the previous week. Volume was about 47% below the same week in 2021 and nearly 2% below the five-year average. The West Coast led gains, and load activity went up in the Southeast and South Central regions, which offset declines elsewhere. Truck availability ticked up 0.6%, and the Market Demand Index — the ratio of loads to trucks — rose slightly after falling to its lowest level since May 2020 the previous week.
The modest overall increase in spot load activity masks some variations at the regional level as the West Coast led gains with week-over-week growth of nearly 12%. The gains on the West Coast were uniformly strong, ranging from 10% for dry van to more than 19% for flatbed.
Dry van spot rates fell nearly 5 cents, which is the largest drop in seven weeks. Rates were 26% lower than the same week in 2021 and nearly 2% below the five-year average for the week. FTR estimated that dry van rates excluding a fuel surcharge were more than 42% lower than in the same week in 2021. Dry van loads increased 2.9% after easing 1% in the prior week. The largest gains were in the South Central and Southeast regions while volume was down in the Northeast and Mountain Central regions. Dry van volume was about 48% below the same week in 2021 but almost 1% above the five-year average for the week.
Refrigerated spot rates decreased nearly 2 cents after rising just more than a cent in the previous week. Rates were nearly 20% below the same week in 2021 but almost 7% above the five-year average for the week. Rates excluding fuel surcharges were nearly 33% below the same week in 2021. Refrigerated loads ticked up 1.3%. Sharp gains on the West Coast and in the Southeast and South Central regions were offset by weakness elsewhere, especially in the Northeast. Refrigerated volume was almost 52% below the same week in 2021 and nearly 2% below the five-year average.
Flatbed spot rates eased three-tenths of a cent after falling 5.5 cents in the week before. Rates were nearly 7% below the same week in 2021 but more than 16% above the five-year average for the week.
Excluding an imputed surcharge, flatbed rates were more than 19% below the same week in 2021. Flatbed loads edged up 1.2% after rising 8.5% during the previous week. Load activity was up sharply on the West Coast, offsetting weaker performance elsewhere. Flatbed volume was 52% below the same week in 2021 and 14% below the five-year average for the week.
With the increase in truck postings not quite matching the gain in volume, the Market Demand Index ticked up slightly to 49.1 from the prior week, which had seen the lowest MDI since May 2020.
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