Rate Trend of the Week

Flatbed Freight Continues to Gain Momentum
Flatbed Freight Continues to Gain Momentum

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.

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Reefer Rates Continue to Cool
Reefer Rates Continue to Cool

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.

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Signs of Spring in Flatbed Markets
Signs of Spring in Flatbed Markets

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.

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Rail Competition Takes a Bite Out of Van Rates
Rail Competition Takes a Bite Out of Van Rates

Spot market rates continue to decline seasonally, as volumes for February are slightly off compared to 2017. That loss can be attributed to completion from the railroads, as overall shipments are up slightly year over year, but more shippers have shifted freight over to rail.

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Van Rates Respond to Seasonal Slowdown
Van Rates Respond to Seasonal Slowdown

Van rates continued to moderate last week, and van load posts declined as we moved into February. Prices are still above the peak for 2017, but the extreme highs in the van segment are declining as we transition into what is usually the slowest month on the spot market.

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Booming Oil Industry Boosts Flatbed Demand
Booming Oil Industry Boosts Flatbed Demand

The energy sector heated up in January, which contributed to higher flatbed load counts for the month. Bad weather in some parts of the country also disrupted construction, though, which led to some pretty uneven changes in flatbed lane rates in January.

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Spot Market Seasonal Slowdown Begins … Sorta
Spot Market Seasonal Slowdown Begins … Sorta

Spot market demand tends to slow down in the middle of January, so it wasn’t surprising that load posts on DAT load boards edged down 4% last week. It was actually the first decline since mid-November that wasn’t related to a shorter work week because of a holiday.

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