Van and Reefer Rates Drop in Mid-July Lull

The typical July lull began last week, which is a little later than expected. Load availability and rates dropped from the previous week, but rates are still well above June averages for van and reefer freight. That’s good news.

There’s a geographic shift in progress now, too, with fewer loads and declining rates in the states that are furthest to the south, and an increase in activity just a little farther to the north. For example, look for rates to rise in Fresno instead of L.A., and in Memphis instead of Atlanta.

You can always find a load in Atlanta, but it may pay less than it did in June. Rates declined on most northbound lanes out of Atlanta and Charlotte last week. Memphis rates mostly held steady, and a 15¢-per mile spike on the lane to Columbus was a bright spot in an otherwise quiet week. Pricing was relatively stable in the Northeast and Midwest, but dropped down slightly in Dallas and Houston. Rates also drifted down in Los Angeles, but volume is building in Sacramento, so that market may improve soon.

DAT TriHaul of the Week: Memphis - Columbus - Gary - Memphis

Rates increased from Memphis to Columbus last week, and that northbound lane is paying $1.94 per mile. If you are picking up in the center of Memphis, you can add as much as 30¢ per mile to that rate. The return trip from Columbus back to Memphis is not as exciting, at $1.48 per mile. If you can do the round trip in two days, including load and unload time, you’ll come away with a solid $2,000 for the 1,200-mile roundtrip.

But if your trip spills over into a third day, you can boost your total revenue with a TriHaul. There are lots of good options for that intermediate stop, including Gary, IN. Here's the math:

Take a load from Columbus to Gary, and a second load from Gary back to Memphis. You’ll add 270 loaded miles to your trip, and boost your total revenue by more than $700.

Reefers' Hot Markets Are All Over the Map

Reefer freight volume declined last week, and rates adjusted after a surprising spike right after the 4th of July. Bright spots last week were literally all over the map: The Rio Grande Valley and Mexican border crossing market at McAllen, TX had strong traffic and rising rates last week. Reefer freight volume is building in Fresno, so look for rates to trend up there, even as volume and rates decline in L.A. Outbound rates continue to rise in Elizabeth, NJ, close to warehouses, the East Coast’s largest sea port, and farms in the more rural areas of the Garden State.

Lane-by-lane rate information is available in DAT load boards, based on rate data for 65,000 point-to-point lanes in DAT RateView. TriHaul recommendations are available in DAT Express and DAT Power.



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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