Load-to-Truck Ratios Drop for First Time Since ELD Mandate

Load posts on the DAT Network have risen steadily since the second week in November, and they were up another 17% last week. What is different, though, is that truck posts surged 52% last week, which was the first full work week after the holidays.

Many truckers took extended vacations, beginning December 18 when the ELD mandate went into effect. That's not a coincidence. Now they're back and looking for loads, so the crazy-high load-to-truck ratios of the past few weeks are finally starting to come down. The ratio for vans is still 10.7 loads per truck, though – way above the typical level for any season, let alone the middle of the winter.

As expected, there was also a slowdown in freight pricing in the second week of January. Rates declined last week on 55 of the top 100 van lanes, and the national average dropped 2¢, compared to the first week in January. But higher fuel costs and winter weather, combined with strong post-holiday freight volumes, have kept prices up in a lot of places.

It’s hard for trucks to stay on schedule in a snowstorm, and winter weather pushed rates higher in the Northeast last week. Allentown, PA outbound rates got a big 10% increase. Rates out of Buffalo, NY got an 8% bump. To the south, Charlotte rates rose 4%.

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

RISING LANES

  • Buffalo to Columbus rates rose 47¢ to an average of $2.41/mile
  • Buffalo to Chicago also added 44¢ at $2.42/mile
  • The other side of that round trip, from Chicago to Buffalo, also had the biggest increase for the week, up 50¢ to $3.57/mile
  • Van rates are always high on the lane from Allentown to Boston to account for traffic, tolls, and the difficulty of finding loads out of Boston, but that lane hit what might have been an all-time high last week: Up 47¢ to an average of $4.47/mile
  • Columbus to Allentown climbed 32¢ to $4.11/mile
  • Denver to Albuquerque added 25¢ at $2.92/mile
  • Strong volumes out of Chicago have pushed the average outbound rate there to nearly $3.00/mile

FALLING LANES

Rates fell again out of Dallas and Los Angeles, which is pretty normal for this time of year, and weather wasn't a big issue in either market last week. Seattle and Stockton, CA have both weakened in January as well, but there are still a lot of markets where the average outbound rate is well above the $2/mile mark.

  • Van rates on the Los Angeles to Stockton lane were 25¢ lower, falling to $3.05/mile
  • Los Angeles to Chicago lost 22¢ at $1.67/mile – this is also a top intermodal lane, so this decline signals stiffer competition from rail. Prices on this lane had been way above average for several weeks
  • Columbus to Atlanta was down 21¢ to an average of $2.87/mile

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



Matt Sullivan

Matt Sullivan is the editor of DAT Carrier News. He has more than 10 years of journalism experience.



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