Prices fall as flooding halts freight

As many parts of the Southeast deal with flooding as a result of Hurricane Florence, the transportation industry is re-adjusting to recovery mode, as demand for emergency freight shipped to the area will increase in the coming days.

That typically comes with a temporary spike in inbound rates to the affected region, and it also means that most truckers will have to account for some deadhead miles, since there likely won’t be much outbound freight.

As far as how the storm impacted the spot market last week, shipments went on hold in that area when Florence made landfall on Friday. But generally, there was enough early warning that truckload capacity wasn’t impacted. Carriers moved their operations farther inland, and since brokers and shippers had an easier time finding trucks, rates were down on most lanes.

DAT connects carriers with brokers and shippers who have urgent shipping needs, including FEMA loads. Learn more about DAT load boards.

Photo from North Carolina Department of Transportation

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


But before the storm hit, there were big spikes in van rates heading into the Carolinas and Virginia:

  • The average van rate on the lane from Allentown, PA, to Richmond, VA, jumped up 60¢ to $3.44/mile, an extremely high rate coming out of the Northeast
  • Atlanta to Charlotte also jumped up 20¢ to $2.96/mile
  • Some freight needed to leave North Carolina ahead of the storm as well, so the lane from Charlotte to Buffalo rose 22¢ to $2.81/mile


For the rest of the country, the trend was lower rates, with prices on many lanes coming down from having spiked around Labor Day.

  • Chicago to Buffalo was down 22¢ to $3.03/mile
  • Columbus to Buffalo also lost 18¢ to $3.65/mile
  • Los Angeles to Chicago fell 19¢ at $1.69/mile

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