Van and Reefer Rates Slip, but Volumes Strong in January

Late January is typically a time for lower rates and less demand, but spot market volumes didn’t fallen off sharply like they did around the same time a year ago. Still, prices have been in a slow and steady decline in many major van and reefer markets.

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


For the month, Houston and Dallas are the top two markets for van loads on DAT load boards, and Houston was the one market where rates held steady last week. Van rates were down in most places, but prices on the lane from Philadelphia to Atlanta rose 13¢ to an average of $1.49/mile. The headhaul lane from Atlanta to Philly was also up to $1.99/mile.


Most lanes paid less last week, but the price drops weren’t as steep as we’ve seen in the past around this time of year. The big declines were scattered, though they mostly came from backhaul markets — ones where inbound rates are generally higher than outbound rates. For example, the lane from Denver to Phoenix fell 17¢, and Cleveland to Chicago lost 13¢.

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

Reefer trends have been similar to vans. Volumes actually improved on the top 72 reefer lanes, which has probably helped slow the normal seasonal decline.


There’s no consistent market driving produce right now, so reefer volumes have been shifting around the country. Rates were up slightly in Fresno, but available loads dropped by 23%. Outbound rates were down last week in Twin Falls, ID, but that market has been the top spot for reefer load posts on DAT load boards in January.


Load counts were up slightly in Los Angeles, but there were also more available trucks, so the average outbound rate there fell 7¢. Two of the biggest drops last week were on lanes out of the Midwest: Reefer loads going from Green Bay to Joliet, IL, paid 31¢ less, and the lane rate from Grand Rapids to Atlanta fell an average of 25¢ per mile.

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