Did Santa save on shipping this year?

A year ago, the spot market was a much more volatile place. Demand was soaring for retail freight, and the ELD mandate that had just taken effect led to a major capacity crunch. Amid all that uncertainly, shipping rates skyrocketed, and it got even crazier in the month to follow.

That’s worth mentioning because this has felt like a down December. Rates spiked early in the month, but load counts have been in a slow decline ever since. The national average for van rates currently sits at $2.07/mile. This time last year: $2.09/mile.

Granted, fuel prices are higher than they were a year ago, which cuts into carrier profits. So while Santa didn’t save all that much money on shipping this year, those presents were delivered amid much more stable spot marketplace.

Also worth noting: Van rates rose after Christmas last year.

DAT load boards provide the largest and most trusted digital freight marketplace in the trucking industry, with more than 279 million loads and trucks posted annually, plus insights into current spot market and contract rates based on $57 billion in real transactions.

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

Hot markets

Houston volumes spiked two weeks ago, and pricing caught up last week. Rates were up 3% from there. Outbound rates also climbed out of Buffalo, with a couple lanes in and out of that market rebounding from the previous week.

  • Buffalo to Allentown, PA, up 27¢ to $3.49/mile
  • Philly to Buffalo up 31¢ to $2.80/mile
  • Out West, Los Angeles to Seattle rose 17¢ to $2.79/mile

Falling rates

Outbound rates were down in markets like Seattle, Denver and Philadelphia, places that are known for low prices.

  • Seattle to Eugene, OR, fell 20¢ to $2.73/mile
  • Denver to Los Angeles was down 16¢ to just $1.20/mile

Find loads, trucks and lane-by-lane rate information in DAT load boards, including rates from DAT RateView.