Spot Market Rates Soared in September

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Last week was the fifth in a row where the national average van rate rose. The average rate rose 18¢ in September to hit $1.97 per mile, which was 35¢ higher than it was at this time last year. The national load-to-truck ratio also hit 7.0 last week – cracking the 7 loads-per-truck mark is uncharted territory for a national van average.

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma obviously played a big part in all this, but that wasn’t the whole story. A big increase in port volumes back in July led to more truckload demand last month, too, since much of that freight didn’t start moving on trucks until August and September. Other indicators showed an improving economy in Q3, which also contributed to higher demand.

Meantime, rates and volumes are starting to come back down to normal in the Southeast, but supply chains throughout the rest of the country are still feeling the ripple effects, as evidenced by all the dark red in the Hot States Map below.

All rates below include fuel surcharges and are based on real transactions between carriers and brokers.


Columbus is a key distribution point for the Midwest and the Northeast, and it shipped more to the Southeast after the storms. Freight disruptions have caused rates to skyrocket there in the past month.

  • Columbus to Allentown, PA, surged 50¢ to an average of $3.86/mile
  • Columbus to Memphis climbed 37¢ to $2.28/mile

Chicago prices also continued to climb:

  • Chicago to Denver added 38¢ at $3.05/mile
  • Chicago to Buffalo was up 37¢ to $3.27/mile
  • Chicago to Dallas rose 18¢ to $2.45/mile

Increases were common but less pronounced elsewhere. One exception was out West:

  • Rates on the lane from Seattle to Salt Lake City gained 36¢ at $2.25/mile


We’re seeing more of a moderating trend compared to recent weeks, with lower van volumes and some declining prices. Rates were still high on the lanes with the biggest drops, though.

  • Atlanta to Lakeland, FL, fell ▼19¢ but still averaged $3.24/mile
  • Atlanta to Miami was down ▼22¢ to $3.43/mile
  • Lots of Florida-bound freight also comes from Charlotte, and rates on the Charlotte-to-Lakeland lane also dropped 20¢ to $2.88/mile

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