Vans and Reefers Have a Friend in California

Shippers and freight brokers are singing a Merle Haggard classic this week, to their van and reefer BFFs: “L.A. traffic is bad this time of year, but there’s a friend of yours in California sure wishes you were here.”

Load-to-truck ratios are way up in the Golden State for vans and reefers, and there are more loads available there right now than in any state except Texas and Georgia. (Flatbeds will find loads more easily in Alabama, Arkansas, or Texas.) Lots of loads are available for all equipment types moving North from most of the Southeastern states — except Florida, which is getting quieter by the day.


Van fleets are singing a song about California, where freight is strong and getting stronger. The lane from L.A. to Phoenix got a 14¢ raise last week, to $2.61 per mile. Fresno and Sacramento have lots of loads, too. On the downside, Seattle and Denver are usually tough places to find loads, and last week they got worse. Load-to-truck ratios there fell to just 0.6 loads per truck. If you must go there, negotiate hard for the inbound rate, because you may need to deadhead out.

The whole southern band of U.S. states is hot for vans right now, from coast to coast, with the exception of Florida. There’s been a shortage of trucks in Arkansas, Mississippi and Alabama, and outbound rates are jumping in Charlotte, Atlanta and Memphis. Northbound lanes are doing especially well. One example: Charlotte to Allentown, PA lane rates surged 31¢ last week, to an average of $2.58 per mile.


Reefer rates rose 2¢ per mile, but total load volume was mostly flat nationwide last week. There were a lot of loads available in California, though, especially outbound from Los Angeles, Fresno, and Ontario, which is the gateway to the “inland empire” of agricultural markets in the Imperial and Coachella Valleys.

The Hot States map for reefers looks a lot like the van map, with the darker colored states along the south, from California to Georgia, and everywhere in between. The lanes with the biggest gains were all out West. Rates from Sacramento to Portland, OR rose 28¢ last week, to $2.97 per mile, and Sacramento to Salt Lake City jumped up 19¢ per mile, to $2.73.

Back East, rates are rising all over…except Florida. The high season has been fading away in Miami and Lakeland for a few weeks. You might still find a load out, but rates are way down. Look in Southern or Central Georgia, instead, where peaches are rolling out.


Got flatbeds? Again, the Southeast and South Central Regions are the best places for find loads now.

If you’re in the area, there’s a shortage of trucks all over the Southeast, from the Gulf Coast up to Virginia. Some of the load-to-truck ratios are crazy high: Shreveport had 379 loads per truck today, and Little Rock had 378. By comparison, Houston had “only” 15 loads per truck, but with thousands of load posts per day, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding one that fits your rig. Oklahoma City is also super-hot for flatbeds.

What’s your best state for freight this week?

Find loads faster on DAT Power, and then check DAT RateView to find out what other carriers are getting paid in your lanes. You can start the sign-up process online, or call our sales team at 800.551.8847. If you’re already a DAT customer (thank you!) and you want to learn more about our products, please contact customer support.

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