Blog Author

Peggy Dorf

Peggy Dorf

Peggy joined DAT in 2008 as a writer and market analyst. She was instrumental in developing DAT Trendlines, and she writes extensively about the impact of economic trends on companies and individuals in transportation and logistics. Peggy is a Certified Transportation Broker with decades of experience in technology marketing and an MBA from the Wharton School.

Reefer freight outlook cools due to food service closures
Reefer freight outlook cools due to food service closures

Reefer carriers are starting to feel the pain of coronavirus-related closures, as volume and rates declined sharply for reefer equipment in the past two weeks. Restaurants and cafeterias are closed nationwide, which eliminates a big segment of refrigerated shippers and their freight, even as grocery stores continue to replenish inventories at an accelerated pace.

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Van rates rise again, but trends could reverse soon
Van rates rise again, but trends could reverse soon

Van rates may fall as fast as they rose, as declining load-to-truck ratios signal the end of the coronavirus-fueled spike in spot freight. Retail inventories are still being depleted and replenished at a rapid pace, but the freight pipeline is depleted because of business closures all over the country. Plus, many consumers face sudden job losses, making them wary about discretionary spending.

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Spot market reefer freight refills stores
Spot market reefer freight refills stores

As more and more cities and states institute measures in response to the COVID-19 threat, consumers have rushed to grocery stores to stock up for extended time at home. Store shelves are bare, but the truckload spot market is already mobilizing to meet the surge in demand.

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COVID-19 uncertainty spurs truckload rate increases
COVID-19 uncertainty spurs truckload rate increases

COVID-19 is causing the mother of all supply chain disruptions. Two weeks ago, we worried that the gap in imports reduced demand and rates for trucks in seaport markets, but then consumers started emptying store shelves of cleaning supplies and canned goods.

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Flatbed rates edge up on steady demand
Flatbed rates edge up on steady demand

Rates haven’t been all that high for flatbeds, but the national average has held in a pretty stable in a range of $2.15 to $2.18 per mile since October. As with dry van – and reefer for that matter – there’s more action for open-deck equipment in the Southeast, and rates are moving up on many high-volume lanes that originate there.

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Q4 load volumes drop to a 2-year low for mid-sized freight brokers
Q4 load volumes drop to a 2-year low for mid-sized freight brokers

For small and mid-sized brokerages, quarterly load volumes were lower than they had been in more than two years, based on benchmark data from DAT Broker TMS. Spot market rates remained low, which was a mixed blessing, as it reduced revenues as well as costs. At least gross margins held up, at an average of 15.8% for the benchmark group.

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Van rates lose traction heading into winter slump
Van rates lose traction heading into winter slump

Van rates slipped below December levels after an unexpected surge in the first half of January. The national average rate dropped another penny to $1.93 per mile for vans last week, which is one cent below the December average but higher than any other month since December 2018.

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