Still Waiting for Spot Rates to Spring Forward

Trucks were ready to go after the winter storm cleared out, so even though we saw volumes pick up on the top 100 van lanes, there was enough capacity to keep rates from making any big jumps. Volumes have slowly been getting stronger in California, and that’ll eventually start to draw in trucks that are currently competing for freight farther east. When that happens, prices will likely start going up.

Load-to-truck ratios are highest for vans in the darker red areas on the Hot States Map, above.

Van trends were otherwise in a holding pattern for the most part last week. Houston was slightly off, but outbound rates there are still up 7% in the past month. Texas has been strong in general, and rates out of Dallas trended up last week.


On a lane-by-lane basis, only a couple big increases in rates:

  • Philadelphia to Buffalo rates rose 23¢ to an average of $2.25/mile
  • Chicago to Buffalo also added 18¢ to $2.33/mile


There were also only a couple big drops in rates:

  • Philadelphia to Boston was down 12¢ to $3.14/mile
  • Rates on the lane from Buffalo to Allentown, PA, dropped 12¢ to $2.67/mile

Load-to-truck ratios are highest for reefers in the darker blue areas on the Hot States Map, above

You have to look back over the course of the past month to find much movement with reefer trends, because last week was fairly stagnant. Rates are up just 1.5% from late February, but there’s been a 14% uptick in volume on the high-traffic lanes. Things are still quiet in Florida, but produce season should start there really soon, which will help kick spring freight season into gear. We’re also still waiting on some California produce that was delayed earlier in the winter because of weather.

Produce shipments out of the Southeast may also take a hit this spring. A mid-March freeze killed many blueberry, peach, and some vegetable crops across large sections of Georgia and the Carolinas.


Denver reefer rates rose in a way that we haven’t seen since before the Super Bowl. Sounds like a case of March Madness. The Final Four is in Glendale, AZ, this year, and rates on the lane from Denver to the Phoenix market are up to an average of $1.77/mile in the past 7 days. That’s well above the normal rate for that lane, so some beer coolers apparently needed filling.

  • Dallas reefer rates also got a big boost last week — the average outbound was up 10¢
  • The lane from Green Bay to Des Moines rose 24¢ to $2.31/mile
  • Grand Rapids to Cleveland also added 19¢ at $3.33/mile


Three lanes dropped after storms affected rates in the week before. See if you can spot the theme:

  • Elizabeth, NJ, to Boston fell 46¢ to $3.66/mile, which is still high
  • Philly to Boston was down 15¢ to $3.35/mile
  • Miami to Boston also dropped 15¢ to $1.75/mile

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