February rates didn't record much improvement compared to January. In fact, flatbed rates (up 0.6%) were the only equipment type to record an increase. I anticipated that rates would begin to pick up sometime in March. A quick look at the data available on DAT Truckload Rate Index today confirmed that March rates may be on the rise.
As of March 15, national linehaul van rates are up $0.04, in the past two days, and total rates for van (linehaul plus fuel) have increased $0.06 since February. Flatbed total rates increased $0.05 since February and reefer total rates are up $0.06 since February. The cause of higher rates appears to be equally due to increased demand and higher fuel prices.
Van hot-spots should come as no surprise if you have been following the blog. The usual suspects with high demand for trucks include Greenville, SC; Decatur, GA; Memphis, TN; Valdosta, GA; and Cape Girardeau, MO. These have been joined by Roanoke, VA and Erie, PA this week and many other markets are becoming more active with the warmer weather.
Reefer produce markets are recording higher volumes, as early-season produce is harvested. McAllen, TX; Tucson, AZ; and Lakeland, FL all recorded high load-to-truck ratios.
Flatbed loads are plentiful in the south, especially: Atlanta, GA; Birmingham, AL; Shreveport, LA; Memphis, TN; and Houston, TX. Other regions like the Midwest and parts of the East Coast also look strong for flatbed.
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