Van rates jump as holiday rush begins

The holiday rush is underway. Last week, van rates hit their highest level since January, as the national average jumped to $1.94 per mile. That’s 12¢ higher than the November average and just 2¢ shy of last January’s peak. Rates increased on 77 of the top 100 lanes while only 8 lanes declined and 15 stayed the same.

The upward trend is just getting started. The load-to-truck ratio doubled for vans compared to the previous week due to pent-up demand to move freight that didn’t make it onto trucks before Thanksgiving.

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Rising markets and lanes

Load volumes were up nearly 30% in the Laredo, TX freight market and nearly 20% in the Phoenix market. Outbound rates also rose in those markets, along with Philadelphia and Allentown, PA, Chicago, and Seattle. Some of the largest lane rate increases occurred on backhaul lanes in the West.   

  • Seattle to Los Angeles gained 26¢ to $1.59/mi., while the return trip added 12¢ to $2.47/mi.
  • Salt Lake City to Stockton, CA increased 22¢ to $1.57/mi. and the return trip also added 22¢ to $2.60/mi.
  • Denver to Los Angeles increased 20¢ to $1.21/mi., while the return trip dipped just 3¢ to $2.70/mi.
  • Philadelphia to Charlotte, NC added 20¢ to $1.74/mi. and the return trip gained 16¢ to $2.38/mi.

Falling markets and lanes

Rates fell on some high-volume lanes out of Lakeland, FL and Minneapolis, but the declines were not very large.

  • Los Angeles to Chicago slipped 6¢ to $1.44/mi.  
  • Minneapolis to Chicago dipped 3¢ to $2.05/mi.