Van freight was a little quiet last week, but a rebound should be underway now, to close the second quarter on a high note. Reefer freight volume should get a boost too, due to last-minute demand for fresh food, ahead of the July 4th weekend. Flatbed traffic has been subdued all year, especially compared to the fracking boom times. This week was no exception.
Demand remains strongest in the Southern band of states, from coast to coast. Hot Markets include Southeastern freight hubs like Atlanta, Charlotte and Memphis, plus Buffalo, NY. Freight is also readily available in the Los Angeles area, but wildfires have led to some highway closures in recent weeks, so check road conditions before you go in.
Flatbed freight is also strongest in the Southeast. The biggest improvement in June volume and rates came in Tampa, followed by Savannah, which may be related to an increase in port traffic. Rates in Fort Worth are rebounding now, from a downturn earlier in the month. Rock Island, IL outbound rates are declining, in what is usually a busy month for farm equipment and related freight from that market.
TriHaul of the Week, for Vans: Charlotte-Buffalo-Baltimore-Charlotte
Last week, van rates rose in both directions between Charlotte, NC and Buffalo, NY, to an average of $1.95 per mile for all loaded miles on the 1,300-mile roundtrip. You can improve the revenue even more if you turn the roundtrip into a TriHaul, by adding a third leg on the way back from Buffalo.
Here's the math:
There are lots of choices when you leave Buffalo, including several destinations in Virginia and Maryland. If you take a load from Buffalo to Baltimore, for example, you add only 126 miles but you make 15¢ more per mile. That adds $460 to your total revenue, and it helps to fill out a third day of driving.