Demand Heats Up for Vans and Reefers

There were lots of loads moving at higher rates last week, especially for vans and reefers.

Last week included the end of the quarter, as well as the last few business days before a holiday weekend, so the increased demand wasn’t a big surprise. Still, it was a nice lift, especially after two months of improvement.

July is typically quieter than June, so the upward trend may not continue in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, look for the geographic emphasis to start shifting a little farther north, in preparation for a possible rebound in the Midwest, later in Q3.

The Sun Belt is still hot for vans, especially in the Southeast. End-of-quarter and pre-holiday freight was even stronger than expected last week in Atlanta, Charlotte and Memphis, which were the top three markets for outbound loads on DAT load boards. The number-four and -five spots were taken by Houston and Dallas. On the West Coast, there were lots of loads available in Los Angeles, and rates rose 11% outbound from Stockton.

Reefer freight remains strong in the Southeast, too, but the Mid-Atlantic markets of Philadelphia and Elizabeth, NJ won the award for “most improved” last week. Fruit and vegetable harvests in New Jersey, combined with refrigerated food from warehouses, answered the July 4th weekend demand for grocery items. Reefers were very active in Central California last week, as well, with increased volume from Fresno and a boost to outbound rates in Sacramento.

TriHaul of the Week, for Reefers: Atlanta-Chicago-Evansville-Atlanta

Northbound lane rates continue to rise out of Atlanta, Memphis and Charlotte, for both vans and reefers. Atlanta to Chicago is a great roundtrip, 1,430 miles at an average of $2.03 per mile. If you want to make more money without adding any loaded miles, you can turn the roundtrip into a TriHaul. Here’s the math:

Take a load of dry or refrigerated freight from Chicago to Evansville, IN, for example. The load-to-truck ratio in Evansville is 14.7 loads per truck for reefers, and outbound rates are outstanding. You’ll add an average of 55¢ per mile, for a total of $3,600 instead of $2,900 for three days of driving, plus the extra pick and drop.

Lane-by-lane rate information and TriHaul route recommendations are available in DAT load boards. Rates are based on DAT RateView, with $28 billion in lane rates, updated daily, for 65,000 point-to-point lanes across North America.