Storms, Flooding Impact Freight Volumes and Rates

Freight volumes fell in the last week of April in areasimpacted by severe weather and flooding. This directly affected freight ratesin the flatbed and van segments while reefer’s seasonal rate rise appears to bedelayed by a slow developing produce season.

Van rate declines were seen most sharply from Memphiswhich is experiencing flooding issues. Lane rates to Atlanta dropped by 15 cents per mile while rates to Dallasdropped by 9 cents per mile. Rates from Chicago dropped to Dallas and Denver – bothfell by 14 cents per mile. The top losing lane was from Columbus to Philadelphiawith a drop of 36 cents per mile (14.5% decline).

On the gaining side, the low priced backhaul rate fromSeattle to Los Angeles was up 17 cents per mile (a 25% gain). Rates from LosAngeles were generally higher with a 1.4% overall increase from that market inthe last week. Stockton (Northern California) also surged ahead 1.4% led by thelane from Stockton to Denver up 11 cents per mile, all other increases were inthe single digits.

Flatbed rates were down overall by 0.5%. Dallas haddouble digit declines on flatbed rates to Memphis, down 18 cents, to NewOrleans, down 14 cents, to Los Angeles, down 13 cents, and to Denver down 12cents. Fortunately, the first few daysof May show a sharp rebound in pricing for flatbeds, especially in the storm affectedareas.

Reefer rates advanced slightly by 0.5%. Lanes leadingthis advance continue to be from produce growing areas with Phoenix to LosAngeles moving up sharply by 36 cents per mile (a 42% increase). Orlando toAtlanta continues to advance with a 28 cent rise (a 20% increase) in thelinehaul rate. Freight from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas to Dallas is also upby 19 cents per mile (a 12.4% increase).

Reefer rates in bothdirections between Chicago and Atlanta fell by double digits. An alternativereturn to Atlanta from Chicago may be via Dallas: the Chicago to Dallas rate isup by 11 cents per mile to $1.78 while Chicago to Atlanta is paying $1.39, finallythe rate from Dallas to Atlanta is up 22 cents per mile to $1.36,creating anice “triangle fare” to get back to Atlanta.

For detailed information on current spot market lanerates check out Truckload RateIndex. For weekly market trends, sign up forTransCore Trendlines.

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