Rates: Reefers heat up. Vans flatten out. Flats slip down.

Spot market rates for dry vans remained steady at $1.28 per mile in September, and declined by a penny in October to-date. Average flatbed rates have been declining gradually from June’s high of $1.63 to an average of $1.56 in September.

In August, when the national average flatbed rate was $1.57 for brokers, flatbed carriers on contract hauls got $1.65, plus a fuel surcharge of $0.34, for a total of $1.99. The beginning of October saw spot market rates recede to $1.54 for flatbed line haul. That’s a two-cent decline from September’s average.

Contract rates for reefers moved up to $1.52 in August, but were not expected to increase in September. Contract rates are typically paid directly by the shipper to the carrier, with no broker or other intermediary.

[Note: Because the national average contract rate is derived from actual freight bills, contract rate data is available three weeks after the end of the month. On the other hand, spot market rate is calculated daily, based on a 30-day rolling average of broker rate agreements.]

Spot market rates for vans (orange line in graph, above left) and reefers (right) declined in August but appeared to rebound in September. Flabed rates (center) slipped in August but did not show signs of recovery, as demand eased and capacity began to loosen in that segment.