Will We See an Early Spring for Dry Van Freight?

The national average van rate has fallen for six straight weeks now, but that’s pretty typical for mid-February. What’s less typical is the fact that the national average is still higher than it was at any point in 2017.

Spot prices have also fallen more slowly lately than in the previous weeks. Volumes are also now higher than they were a month ago, so there are signs of momentum building.

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With a few exceptions, prices were stable out of the major markets for van freight last week. Van load counts rose in both Houston and Chicago, which is a another sign that we could be looking at an early spring for spot freight this year.

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


A couple of lanes out of the Gulf Coast region paid better last week:

  • New Orleans to Dallas rose 19¢ to an average of $2.15/mile
  • Truckload pricing also made some gains on the Houston to L.A. lane, which competes heavily with rail – van rates were up 11¢ to $1.64/mile

Up in the Pacific Northwest, the intrastate lane from Seattle to Spokane climbed 23¢ to $3.14/mile


The off season for retail has led to some steep declines on lanes going into markets that serve the Northeast:

  • Columbus, OH, to Buffalo, NY, dropped 42¢ last week to $3.42/mile
  • Chicago to Buffalo was down 25¢ to $3.11/mile
  • Buffalo to Allentown, PA, dropped 24¢ to $3.58/mile
  • Columbus to Allentown fell 23¢ to $3.56

Find loads, trucks and lane-by-lane rate information in DAT load boards, including rates from DAT RateView.