Van rates continued to rise right into the first week of December before slipping in major markets during the most recent week. Rates rose most notably in California-bound lanes from Northwestern cities of Seattle and Portland, as fresh-cut trees made their way to seasonal lots – and traveled on car roofs to living rooms – throughout the Golden State. Memphis, a growing freight hub, saw outbound rates rise throughout November before declining at the end of the month as Chicago rates rose.
Reefer rates remained strong all month and then fell 1.2% in the final week. That is a predictable move after Thanksgiving groceries are already on store shelves. We may see an additional uptick in reefer rates just before Christmas, but we’ll know more in a few days.
Flatbed rates are holding steady nationwide; they rose in Dallas and Chicago last week despite the onset of winter weather, but flatbeds outbound from Atlanta saw a 2.2% drop.
Note: Spot market rates are derived from thousands of broker rate agreements with carriers, collected and analyzed in TransCore’s Truckload Rate Index. The average rates referenced above are for line haul only; they are calculated after subtracting fuel surcharges, accessorials and other fees.
National average rates tend to mask strong regional trends, which we discuss in other blog posts, as well as in the Rate Trend of the Week feature of our Trendlines web site. I am also available here on the Freight Talk blog to answer your questions about spot market trends on Monday evenings at 7:30 PM Eastern Time.