7-Week Streak of Higher Rates Ends – For Now

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Van spot market rates moderated last week, especially on the backhaul lanes where rates spiked two weeks ago. The looser truckload capacity led to lower national averages for van and reefer rates, interrupting what had been seven straight weeks of increases.

But capacity is only “loose” when compared to recent weeks. As you can see in the Hot States Map below, trucks are still in high demand across many parts of the country.

The decline in the national average could be short-lived, too, with volumes surging in California and across other western states, and demand is high on eastbound lanes. Load counts were also up in Texas and Chicago.

Los Angeles was the number-one market for van loads last week, with a huge uptick in volumes.

All rates below include fuel surcharges and are based on real transactions between brokers and carriers.


  • That big surge in demand out of L.A. pushed rates up 22¢ on the lane to Denver, averaging $2.97/mile last week
  • Denver to Chicago was also up 19¢ to $1.31/mile (that may sound low, but it’s the highest average rate on this lane since at least 2011)

Inbound rates to Buffalo, NY, also climbed. Buffalo is a gateway market for exports from the U.S. to Canada, and the Canadian economy is projected to be the fastest growing in the G7 this year, which is the group that includes the most advanced economies in the world:

  • Philadelphia to Buffalo rose 19¢ at $2.99/mile
  • Chicago to Buffalo also gained 18¢ to $3.09/mile


There were some big drops in prices out of Seattle, but outbound rates there are still abnormally high. For example, Seattle to Salt Lake City still averages $2.35/mile.

Others were down, though:

  • Seattle to Eugene, OR, which fell 51¢ but still averaged $2.63/mile
  • Seattle to Stockton, CA, was down 32¢ to $1.64/mile
  • Denver to Albuquerque, NM, was down 33¢ to $2.04/mile
  • Buffalo to Chicago adjusted down 26¢, with the higher demand coming from the opposite direction

While inbound rates were generally up in Buffalo, the lane from Columbus to Buffalo dropped 33¢ to $3.09/mile. It could be a case of Columbus being out of inventory, given the extra activity that happened out of there following Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which meant freight going into Buffalo had to be sourced elsewhere

Find loads, trucks and lane-by-lane rate information in DAT load boards, including rates from DAT RateView.

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