Cargo Ship Woes Still Affecting Spot Market Rates

The bankruptcy of the world’s 7th largest container carrier, Hanjin Shipping, has led to shippers re-adjusting inventories in the past couple of weeks in order to avoid stock-outs as we head into the busy retail season. Those previously unplanned shipments have brought about a surge in demand for trucks in Los Angeles. It’s currently the number 1 market for van load posts on DAT load boards, with a lot of freight moving eastward.

Darker-colored states have higher load-to-truck ratios, meaning that there’s less competition for van loads in those states.


Last week was also the end of the quarter, which sometimes brings a big increase in loads. But the end of Q3 was relatively quiet, with load posts on DAT up a modest 7%. Spot market rates haven’t changed much in the last month either – there were hot markets and regions, but other areas cooled off, so it all balanced out.

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

The outbound average in L.A. mostly held steady last week, but some of the eastbound long haul lanes are paying a lot better. L.A. to Elizabeth, NJ is a 2,782-mile trip, and it paid $1.70/mile on average for the past week. That’s the highest rate for that lane in more than a year. Columbus is a hub for retail distribution centers, and lane rates last week for L.A. to Columbus were also the highest they’ve been in a year, at $1.59/mile

Rates trended down last month in the Northeast and Southeast, which is typical for this time of year. Rates fell the most out of Allentown, PA, and Charlotte, but Hurricane Matthew could affect rates there this week.

Darker-colored states have higher load-to-truck ratios, meaning that there’s less competition for reefer loads in those states.


Reefer rates and volumes ended the month pretty much where they were at the end of August, but more lanes were up than down last week. Outbound rates got an offseason bump in Florida. Most of the major lanes out of Lakeland and Miami paid better. Rates may go up again this week, because shippers want to move freight ahead of the storm that’s moving up from the Caribbean. Hopefully it won’t cause much damage.

Twin Falls, ID, cooled off after a few weeks of high demand, while heavy rains hurt rates out of Green Bay. The Southeast also continued to slow down. Aside from tree fruit shipments out of Grand Rapids, fall harvests weren’t as strong a factor in determining the top 5 markets for reefer load posts last week as it had been in previous weeks: 1. Chicago, 2. Elizabeth, 3. Dallas, 4. Grand Rapids, 5. Los Angeles.

Lane-by-lane rate information and Hot Market Maps are available in the DAT Power load board. Rates are based on DAT RateView, with $28 billion in lane rates, updated daily, for 65,000 point-to-point lanes across North America.