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US spot market rates solid to end 2014

Freight availability on the US spot truckload market was generally stable (up 0.8%) during the week ending Jan. 3, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.
The number of available trucks posted between Christmas and New Year’s Day fell 22% compared to the previous week, as more truckers than brokers appeared to take the week off.
Key metrics for the week include:

Rates stay steady: National average spot market rates were steady at US$2.07 per mile for van freight, down one cent; $2.31 per mile for flatbed freight, up 1 cent; and $2.38 for refrigerated freight, up two cents. These rates include a fuel surcharge, which fell one cent as a national average.

Demand is up: The van load-to-truck ratio increased from 3.3 to an atypically high 4.3, meaning there were 4.3 van loads posted for every available van on DAT load boards. The reefer load-to-truck ratio increased from 10.2 to 13.9, while the flatbed load-to-truck ratio increased from 18.5 to 22.9.

Fuel price tumbles: The national average fuel price fell seven cents (2.1%) to $3.14 per gallon. Declining fuel prices tend to have a dampening effect on spot market rates. When fuel prices slip, the surcharge drops and the total rate may decline accordingly.

Load-to-truck ratios represent the number of loads posted for every truck available on DAT load boards. The load-to-truck ratio is a sensitive, real-time indicator of the balance between spot market demand and capacity. Changes in the ratio often signal impending changes in rates.
Rates are derived from DAT RateView, which provides real-time reports on prevailing spot market and contract rates, as well as historical rate and capacity trends. RateView’s database is comprised of more than $24 billion in freight bills in more than 65,000 lanes. For complete national and regional reports on spot rates and demand, visit

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