9 May 14

Photo credit: Wikipedia

For ten months of the year, Florida is the least-favorite destination for over-the-road truckers. It's inevitably a dead-end route, and carriers either deadhead out or compete ferociously over a handful of low-priced, northbound loads. But now, the Sunshine State is ripe for the picking.

Reefers have their pick of outbound freight, during the brief, glorious spring harvest season now in progress. Reefer rates are soaring, up and down the entire state, from Miami, where rates surged 29¢ (11%) last week,  and Lakeland, with a 34¢ (15%) increase, up to Jacksonville in the panhandle. More than 1,500 loads per day have been posted for reefers outbound from Jacksonville this week on DAT Load Boards, making for plenty of opportunity. 

Van freight is equally plentiful and van rates are high, especially in the southern part of the Sunshine State. Miami has a load-to-truck ratio of 7.3. Considering that the national average ratio for vans was 2.6 last week, that 7.3 number indicates pricing favorable to carriers. The Port of Miami may be partly responsible, as imports arrive from Europe, South America and the Caribbean and are transferred to vans bound for regional distribution centers in the Southeast, or directly to population centers in the Northeast. 

Florida's economy is gradually becoming less dependent on citrus. A diverse crop, including melons and a mix of vegetables harvested in January, has caused surprising surges of outbound freight from Lakeland and Miami in the winter months. 

On the lane from Miami to Charlotte, for example, brokers paid carriers an average of $1.69 for vans. This may not sound so great if you're not accustomed to Florida rates, but there are three important factors to consider: (1) it's a back haul, (2) the prevailing rate is 48¢ higher than the annual average of $1.21, and (3) the head haul rate from Charlotte to Miami averaged $2.32 last week. The 1-year average rate on that head haul was $2.50. The round trip rate balances out with a 30¢ per mile boost, compared to the annual average, and the large volume of freight in Miami makes it very likely that trucks won't have to wait long between loads. 

Transportation and logistics professionals can research capacity and rates in DAT RateView, for up-to-the-minute insights and benchmarks.

Comments (9) -

Greg McPhearson
Greg McPhearson

Great insight!

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hamilton williams
hamilton williams

I really wish people stop using the term backhaul. When you deliver a load to a customer that load is done, and you move on to the next haul wherever it's going. Now if it goes back to where you started why isn't it a round trip. Because they use that term backhaul to justify giving you a lower rate. Wise up driver's demand front haul money on all loads because that's what they are.

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Well said my friend. What's a "backhaul"?  It costs the same to operate that truck no matter which direction you're going.

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Screw that crap in South Florida.  Haul NOTHING there, pick up NOTHING there!

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"WHATS A BACKHUAL" i leave my home for 3 to 6 weeks at a time, and all my loads move me forward not back.

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All back hauls don't pay. Drivers need to wise up. if does pay the driver and truck

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Drivers need to wise up. if it does not pay the driver and truck, it is not worth it. Brokers will take up to 40% and come out on top. So if people will negotiate the rate everyone will make a decent profit.

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Hi Stepper
Hi Stepper

I have never understood  where they get BACK HAUL it cost just as much to go to Texas as it does to come from Texas, but you have the Truckers that  will take the cheap loads and go with them knowing they are not going to make any money, and they are the ones that makes cheap loads the Brokers know they can get them hauled so what i'm trying to say Don't haul them cheap loads they will pay if it sets  there a day or two.....STAY SAFE

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Peggy @ DAT
Peggy @ DAT

We use the term "back haul" to describe the lower-priced direction on a round trip.  Rates are driven by supply and demand.

Head Haul:
When there is a lot of freight moving in one direction -- say, Chicago to Dallas -- the rate will go up because carriers have their pick of loads.

Back Haul:
On the return trip, there will be a lot of trucks already positioned in Dallas, but there is not nearly as much freight heading back to Chicago. It costs just as much to run a truck in that direction, but there is just not as much demand for trucking services -- so the best rates are not going to be offered in that direction.

At DAT, we don't set the rates, but we do know a lot about who is paying what, and where.  Want to learn more? Call and ask for a demo of DAT RateView: 800-551-8847

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