Van and Reefer Load Volumes Rise, as Flatbeds Falter

Van and reefer volume increased last week, although rates were unchanged as a national average. Flatbed volume and rates continued to drift down.

The maps below depict the relationship between load posts and truck posts in each state last week. The darker-colored states had above-average load-to-truck ratios, so there were more loads relative to the number of trucks available. When load-to-truck ratios increase, the additional competition tends to drive rates up.

VAN TRENDS: Oregon and North Dakota are showing as dark red on the Hot States map above, due to a relative shortage of trucks, but there aren't necessarily a lot of loads available in either state. It's easier to find a load in the biggest freight markets, including Chicago-Joliet, Atlanta, Dallas, and Houston, but outbound van rates trended down in most of those markets last week. Rates rose out of Buffalo and Seattle.

HOT ROUND TRIP: Dallas to Houston and back, about 480 miles at an average rate of $1.92 per loaded mile.

FLATBED TRENDS: Load-to-truck ratios are high for flatbeds in the Southeast, but rates are drifting down in Atlanta and Memphis. Outbound rates plummeted 20% in Raleigh over the past month, including a drop of 12¢ per mile just last week. One bright spot in the region is Savannah, where rates are rising like a rocket on a selection of regional lanes. Rates also rose on a couple of lanes out of Rock Island, IL and Harrisburg, PA.

HOT ROUND TRIP: Savannah to Charlotte and back, 500 miles at $2.57.

REEFER TRENDS: Idaho lit up the Hot States map last week, and with good reason. Potatoes are rolling out of Twin Falls, and rates are up. For example, the lane from Twin Falls to Phoenix added 18¢ per mile last week, to an even $2.00. Washington State has apples and onions, so you can find loads from Spokane to Seattle and back. The rest of the excitement is in the Midwest: Load availability is up in Chicago, but rates didn't follow...yet. Rates were down in Green Bay and Grand Rapids last week, but still higher for the month. Rates rose sharply on a couple of lanes out of Grand Rapids, even though apple harvests have been disappointing. The Southeast is pretty quiet, and rates in Miami are back in the off-season doldrums, although there's still some life in Atlanta.

HOT ROUND TRIP: Spokane to Seattle and back, 560 miles at an average of $2.82 per mile.

Lane-by-lane rate information and Hot Market Maps are available in the DAT Power load board. Rates are based on DAT RateView, with $28 billion in lane rates, updated daily, for 65,000 point-to-point lanes across North America.



Peggy Dorf

Peggy joined DAT in 2008 as a writer and market analyst. She was instrumental in developing DAT Trendlines, and she writes extensively about the impact of economic trends on companies and individuals in transportation and logistics. Peggy is a Certified Transportation Broker with decades of experience in technology marketing and an MBA from the Wharton School.



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