Spot Freight Volumes Get Welcome Boost

We got a welcome surge of spot market freight to close out July. It’s unusual to see an uptick in volumes at this point in the summer, but the top 100 van lanes set all-time records for load volumes last week.

That led to an uptick in load posts on DAT load boards, but rates didn’t respond. Weaker reefer load counts are likely to blame. If reefer demand had materialized, those trucks would be competing for van freight. Instead, the extra capacity kept rates down.

Demand for dry vans was still high across Texas and most of the Southeast, but activity is starting to shift to the Midwest for the second half of summer.

Last week, the three markets with the biggest gains for van rates also happened to be in three areas where the crop yields have been strongest. Rates rose in Philadelphia, Buffalo and Seattle, since nearby agricultural areas were keeping reefers busy.

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


Columbus, OH, had spikes on a pair of lanes shipping into the Northeast, which is unusual for this time of year:

  • Columbus to Buffalo was up 17¢ to $2.79/mile
  • Columbus to Allentown, PA added 17¢ at $2.88/mile

Those lanes are closely tied to retail, and other retail lanes were down last week, as well.

Out West, the regional lane from Seattle to Spokane, WA rose 20¢ to an average of $2.92/mile.


With the shift of activity from the South to the Midwest, we saw some seasonal declines on lanes out of Atlanta.

  • One example was Atlanta to Chicago, down 14¢ to $1.47/mile
  • Memphis to Indianapolis was more typical of retail lanes last week, falling 20¢ to $1.90/mile
  • Houston to Oklahoma City is influenced heavily by the energy sector, and rates there fell 16¢ to $2.02/mile

There’s been a run of higher rates on many of the top reefer lanes. High heat is taking a toll on crops in some regions, though, and triple digits are expected in Northern California and the Pacific Northwest this week.


Grand Rapids, MI had a couple of strong outbound lanes, despite an overall slip in volumes:

  • Grand Rapids to Cleveland gained 50¢ at $4.12/mile
  • Grand Rapids to Madison, WI rose 32¢ to $3.19/mile
  • Sacramento to Denver was up 26¢ to $2.55/mile
  • Chicago to Atlanta rebounded 23¢ to $2.59/mile


  • The highest outbound average last week was Green Bay, but the lane to Minneapolis dropped 49¢ to $2.27/mile, a more typical price for this time of year
  • Lakeland, FL to Baltimore had a sharp 39¢ drop to $1.46/mile
  • Near the Mexican border, McAllen, TX to Atlanta fell 33¢ to $1.70/mile
  • Also near the border, Nogales, AZ to Los Angeles was down 24¢ to $1.57/mile

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