BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Fueled by solid gains in the van segments, the total broker-posted spot rate in the Truckstop system rose for the first time in 10 weeks during the week ended August 4 (week 31).
After a tiny increase in the prior week, rates for flatbed equipment returned to their downward trend, although the decline was barely larger than the previous week’s increase. Spot volume’s modest growth was the strongest since April in a week not distorted by a holiday rebound or the International Roadcheck event.
Total load activity rose 4% after easing 1% in the previous week. Volume was about 25% below the same week last year, which is the least negative year-over-year comparison in more than a year. Comparisons year-over-year going forward will be versus a market that had basically fully normalized from the pandemic-era stress. Load postings in the latest week were about 23% below the five-year average. Volume was higher week over week in all regions except the West Coast. Truck postings fell 5.6%, and the Market Demand Index – the ratio of loads to trucks – rose to its highest level since late June.
The total broker-posted rate increased 3.4 cents after a decline of a fraction of a cent in the prior week. Total market rates had fallen for nine straight weeks. Rates were nearly 16% below the same 2022 week, which is the least negative year-over-year comparison since late last year. Rates were nearly 5% below the five-year average. The largest rate increase was for refrigerated equipment, so there is no indication that Yellow’s operational shutdown at the beginning of last week had any significant effect on the spot market. Nor would we necessarily expect a disruption in LTL service to have affected a spot market that is principally focused on truckload shipments. Higher fuel prices might have factored into higher rates, however. The national average price of diesel had risen 32 cents a gallon in the two weeks heading into last week’s market.
Dry van spot rates rose more than 4 cents after easing just three-tenths of a cent in the previous week. Dry van rates, which had been down for the prior four weeks, were nearly 15% below the same week last year and about 10% below the five-year average. The year-over-year comparison in rates was the least negative since August of last year. Dry van loads ticked up 1.1% after increasing more than 2% in the prior week. A solid gain in the Midwest offset declines on the West Coast and South Central region. Volume was nearly 20% below the same 2022 week and about 16% below the five-year average. The year-over-year comparison was the least negative in more than a year.
Refrigerated spot rates jumped more than 11 cents after rising nearly 4 cents in the previous week. Rates were about 11% below the same 2022 week for the least negative year-over-year comparison since June 2022. Refrigerated rates were nearly 6% below the five-year average. Refrigerated loads rose 14.4% after increasing about 3% in the previous week. Loads were up in all regions, ranging from nearly 4% higher in the South Central region to about 20% in the Midwest. Volume was about 10% below the same week last year and about 8% below the five-year average for the week. The year-over-year comparison was the least negative since May 2022.
Flatbed spot rates declined 1 cent after ticking up less than a cent in the prior week. Rates have fallen in eight of the past 10 weeks. Flatbed rates were nearly 19% below the same 2022 week and more than 3% below the five-year average. Flatbed loads increased 2.7% after falling 5.8% in the previous week. Loads were down sharply on the West Coast but up in all other regions. Volume was nearly 37% below the same week last year and almost 39% below the five-year average for the week.
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.