3 Cheers for the Spring Freight Season!

Spring has sprung, bringing a long-awaited upward trend in freight volume…and RATES!! For all trailer types!!!

Load posts and load-to-truck ratios sprang up everywhere, signaling an increase in market pressure that typically leads to rising rates. In fact, the average rate for vans added 2¢ last week, to $1.56 per mile, reefers were up by 1¢, to $1.80, and flatbed rates rose 3¢ to $1.83. (For more details about hot markets for flatbeds, go to this recent blog post.)

These rates are national averages, and you won’t necessarily see an increase in every lane. Not yet, anyway. But seasonal freight is coming soon, and it should provide welcome relief for carriers after a quiet winter.

Here’s some local color:

Demand for vans increased in Idaho last week, especially in Twin Falls. Rapid City, SD was another Hot Market. In that cluster of states east of Texas, the map turned red due to high load-to-truck ratios in Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas. Economic activity also boosted van demand in Decatur, AL and Texarkana, TX.

Los Angeles van rates started to climb last week, to an average of $1.80 per mile. Dallas was pretty quiet, but demand is picking up in Houston and Laredo. There are lots of van loads in Chicago, but even more trucks are competing for them, so rates dropped. Atlanta rates also slipped, although rates held up well in other regional hubs, including Memphis and Charlotte. Philadelphia outbound rates edged up last week, on stronger demand.

TriHaul: Chicago – Atlanta – Decatur – Chicago

There’s plenty of freight from Chicago to Atlanta, but the rates aren’t great, and the return trip is worse.

Look for a load to Decatur, AL, where a shortage of trucks is giving rates a boost. Decatur is a hot market for flatbeds, too. If you can make the full roundtrip from Chicago to Atlanta and back in two days, you might just go with it. If you’re held over to a third, day, it’s worth the extra effort to break up the trip into two legs. Other TriHaul routes take you from Atlanta to Chicago via Iowa or West Virginia.

Daily maps, along with detailed information on demand, capacity, rates and TriHaul route suggestions for individual markets and lanes, can be found in the DAT Power load board. Rates are derived from actual rate agreements and contracts, as reported in DAT RateView.