Reefer demand and rates declined steadily throughout February, which is a pretty typical spot market trend. The declines in reefer rates were steeper than the similar declines in van rates, but reefer prices were also extremely elevated heading into the month.
February has been a strong month for flatbed freight. That's not something you hear all that often, but the national average flatbed rate has increased each week this month, while rates trended in the opposite direction for vans and reefers.
February is usually the slowest month of the year for spot freight, and declines in reefer rates have been sharper than in the van segment. But then again, reefer rates also started from a much higher point, so they had further to fall.
The national average van rate has fallen for six straight weeks now, but that’s pretty typical for mid-February. What’s less typical is the fact that the national average is still higher than it was at any point in 2017.
Flatbed trends have been mostly neutral overall so far in February. There are signs of spring, with higher volumes in many markets over the course of the past three weeks. That’s been offset by a slump in volumes out of Houston, though. The price for oil has gone from above $65 to below $60 per barrel, which could account for the decrease in demand in that market.