BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Broker-posted spot rates in the Truckstop system held steady overall during the week ended Dec. 15 (week 50) as dry van and refrigerated rates declined for the second straight week. Flatbed rates also eased slightly, but total market rates were unchanged largely because flatbed has the highest rates and saw less volume decrease. Van spot rates typically rise sharply during the final two weeks of the year, but the fact that the current week ends before Christmas eve might moderate the usual dynamic.
Total load activity eased 3.5%. Volume was down nearly 19% year-over-year and nearly 32% from the five-year average. Load postings were up in the Southeast but down in all other regions. Truck postings increased 2.1%, and the total Market Demand Index — the ratio of loads to trucks — declined.
The total broker-posted rate was essentially unchanged week over week. Rates were more than 9% below the same 2022 week and more than 4.3% below the five-year average. Even though rates were down in all three principal equipment types, the total market rate was steady for two reasons. Mainly, flatbed rates are higher than refrigerated and van rates, and flatbed volume held up better during the week. Also, spot rates for specialized equipment – a small part of the spot market – rose more than 8 cents for the strongest increase since August.
Dry van rates
Dry van spot rates declined 2.4 cents after falling 8 cents during the previous week. Rates were nearly 10% below the same 2022 week and exactly 10% below the five-year average. Dry van loads fell 7.7%. Volume, which was down week over week in all regions, was more than 23% below the same 2022 week and more than 31% below the five-year average for the week.
Refrigerated spot rates fell 5.6 cents after dropping 12 cents during the previous week. Rates were more than 11% below both the same 2022 week and the five-year average. Refrigerated loads eased 4.1%. Load activity rose in the Southeast and was up marginally on the West Coast but was down elsewhere. Volume was 28% below the same week last year and 35% below the five-year average for the week.
Flatbed spot rates eased four-tenths of a cent after ticking up a tenth of a cent in the prior week. Rates were about 10% below the same 2022 week and 0.2% below the five-year average. Flatbed loads edged down 0.5%. Loads were up in the Southeast and Midwest but were down elsewhere. Volume was more than 9% below the same 2022 week and about 38% below the five-year average for the week.
Born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and raised in East Texas, John Worthen returned to his home state to attend college in 1998 and decided to make his life in The Natural State. Worthen is a 20-year veteran of the journalism industry and has covered just about every topic there is. He has a passion for writing and telling stories. He has worked as a beat reporter and bureau chief for a statewide newspaper and as managing editor of a regional newspaper in Arkansas. Additionally, Worthen has been a prolific freelance journalist for two decades, and has been published in several travel magazines and on travel websites.