Post-Hurricane Floods Boost Rates in Southeast for Vans, Not Flatbeds

Freight started moving into Florida again last week, due to pent-up demand following Hurricane Matthew. Van load volume and rates rose higher throughout the Southeast, especially on lanes heading into areas in the Carolinas that were affected by flooding and road closures.

Some of the rate increases may have helped to compensate carriers for the out-of-route miles they drove to avoid flooding on Interstate 95. Plus, as load-to-truck ratios declined in the destination markets, many inbound trucks had to deadhead out of storm-affected areas. The potential for deadhead miles can add to pressure on inbound rates.

Atlanta reclaimed the top spot for van load posts last week, with lots of loads leaving there for areas affected by the storm. Rates were up in both Atlanta and Memphis, and prices surged out of Charlotte.

Conditions in North Carolina made trucks harder to find. Load volume doubled on the lane from Charlotte to the Lakeland, FL market area, boosting that rate by 38¢, to $2.65 per mile. The Lakeland market includes Daytona, where Hurricane Matthew first made landfall. Rates on the lane from Atlanta to Lakeland also jumped up 16¢ to $2.56 per mile. Both of these lane rates started to drift back down this week, indicating that shippers have already moved the overdue freight that was stalled during Hurricane Matthew.

Hurricane Matthew and its aftermath hasn’t led to a surge in flatbed rates, or not yet, anyway. Flooding may have prevented loads from moving last week. Plus, while the first wave of consumer goods has arrived to replenish store shelves after the storm, it may still be too soon for major repairs and construction that require the materials and equipment that move on flatbeds.

One flatbed lane that did get more active after the storm was from Savannah to Charlotte, which jumped up 18¢ to $2.40 per mile. That could be related to the arrival of ships at the Port of Savannah. On the other hand, freight volume dropped by two-thirds on the lane from Atlanta to Raleigh, as flatbed freight couldn’t make it into those flooded areas.



Peggy Dorf

Peggy joined DAT in 2008 as a writer and market analyst. She was instrumental in developing DAT Trendlines, and she writes extensively about the impact of economic trends on companies and individuals in transportation and logistics. Peggy is a Certified Transportation Broker with decades of experience in technology marketing and an MBA from the Wharton School.



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