Pre-holiday rush pushes van rates higher

Holiday freight continues to move, and van rates have risen in three of the past four weeks. In the top 100 van lanes last week, rates increased in 63 of those lanes.

Freight volumes have been building for weeks, and the national average van rate moved up to $1.82 per mile, which is 2¢ higher than October's average. There will be a sense of urgency this week a goods travel their final mile to store shelves before Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

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Rising markets and lanes

Seattle and Denver posted strong gains, but rates coming out of those markets are typically low. Rates increased in several other major van markets, including Charlotte, Los Angeles, Memphis, Chicago and Columbus, OH.       

  • Seattle to Spokane, WA surged 25¢ to $3.29/mi. (The return trip pays equally well if you can find a load in Spokane) 
  • Charlotte to Buffalo jumped 21¢ to $2.18/mi.
  • Denver to Houston increased 16¢ to $1.41/mi.
  • Chicago to Atlanta added 16¢ to $2.29/mi.

Falling markets and lanes

Most declines were slight, with the biggest drop coming on the lane from Denver to Albuquerque, NM. Prices out of Dallas were also a mixed bag. 

  • Denver to Albuquerque gave back 14¢ to $1.86/mi., after rising 13¢ the week before.
  • Philadelphia to Buffalo fell 7¢ to just $2.13/mi.


RELATED: Thanksgiving rush results in record-high reefer volumes

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Pat Pitz

Pat Pitz is the editor of the DAT Solutions freight broker newsletter. He has nearly 20 years experience as a professional writer and editor. Before joining DAT, he spent 8 years at a Portland advertising and public relations agency, where he wrote newsletters and other content for a variety of high-profile clients, including several in the trucking industry.