Rate Trend of the Week – I'd Rather Be in Philadelphia…or Columbus


Van rates rose by another 1.7% in the past week, for a two-week increase of 2.5%. Of the 64 highest-volume lanes, 41 lanes had rate increases. Midwestern markets are heating up, and L.A. continues its steady gains. For the best lane rate….well, I know I’ve made this W.C. Fields reference before, but this is a pretty good week to be in Philadelphia. Just be sure you’re heading to Boston and not to Chicago.

What’s Hot

Columbus, Chicago & Memphis – Outbound rates increased 4.6% from Columbus, but the average rate is still below the national average. Chicago (up 3.0%) and Memphis (up 2.6%) are also trending up, with rates at the high end of the range for major markets in the past week. Rates also rose from Los Angeles, which has been improving consistently since mid-February.

What’s Not

Denver & Dallas – Rates rose by only 0.4% from Denver, the smallest gain among this week’s top ten markets for spot market volume. Denver rates were also weak at $1.29 per mile, including the fuel surcharge. Dallas was also slow, with a 0.7% increase yielding only $1.66 per mile, all in.

What’s Up?

Philadelphia to Boston – Looking at individual lanes over 250 miles, Philadelphia to Boston paid the highest average rate of $3.04, and it increased 13 cents (5.4%) last week. Interestingly, the return trip from Beantown to Philly was up 13% to $1.99. That is a great roundtrip rate in a tough region. If you can put some trucks in that area, go for it. Columbus to Philly wins the “most improved” title, up 15% to $2.81. If you’re on the West Coast, try Stockton to Portland at $2.38, up 18 cents (11%) for the week.

What’s Down?

Philadelphia to Chicago was a loser last week, with the classic “buck-a-mile backhaul.” This has the dubious distinction of being the Worst Lane in America. The biggest decline was from Dallas to Laredo, down 28 cents (19%) to $1.70. Ouch. Freight volume is increasing in the northbound direction, so there is free capacity heading south.

For more information, visit the Rate Trend of the Week page in Trendlines. And feel free to add your comments about rates and other trucking-related news.