Summer freight is on its way, just as spring has finally sprung — and it’s not all about Roadcheck.
The annual Roadcheck inspection blitz kicked off the month by tightening capacity for much of the first week in June. The lane rates that rose sharply during that week dropped back down again after the inspections ended, but van load volumes and rates continue to climb in the Southeast and along the West Coast.
The end result is a big increase compared to the average rates for May. Expect rates to go up some more, at least until the 4th of July holiday.
The Southeastern standouts were Memphis and Charlotte, where rates have been rising for weeks. Atlanta was a rising star, too, but rates slipped lower last week on the high-traffic van lanes leaving the Atlanta market.
You know this is a strong regional trend when rates rise in both directions, as they did on a handful of lanes that connect Memphis, Charlotte, and Atlanta. Even when rates dropped in one direction, the roundtrips improved over the previous week’s averages, which is a good sign.
Up in both directions: Memphis – Charlotte – Memphis:
- Memphis to Charlotte paid $2.16, up 6¢, and Charlotte to Memphis $1.65, up 3¢
- You get a roundtrip average of $1.91, up 9¢ in the past week
Up in one direction, down on the lower-paying leg, but it’s a worthwhile roundtrip:
- Memphis to Atlanta went for $2.50, up 10¢, but Atlanta to Memphis paid $1.86/mile, down 3¢
- The roundtrip average was $2.18, up 7¢, which pencils out nicely
Rates also rose on lanes from Atlanta to southern and central Florida, but the rates for the northbound legs are not far off from $1.00/mile, now that produce season is finished in the Sunshine State. If you find a load out, even at those low rates, the roundtrip rate has actually improved, making this a more attractive option. Plus, there’s a lot of freight heading south.
- Atlanta to Miami rates jumped 31¢ to $2.54/mile, but Miami to Atlanta is down 9¢ to $1.04/mile. (It may sound insulting, but it comes to almost $700. Plus, it supports a good average rate on the roundtrip.)
- The roundtrip paid $2.06/mile, up 22¢ from the previous week.
Or you can take a load to Central Florida instead. The rate is not as high, but the trip is shorter. Maybe it will work better with your schedule:
- Atlanta to Lakeland added 30¢ to $2.72/mile and Lakeland to Atlanta rates fell 8¢ to $1.19
- That roundtrip paid $1.96/mile last week, which is 22¢ more than the week before.