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U.S. spot rates dip


The spot rate market in the U.S. took a seasonal dip in February, but was still strong.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Spot truckload freight volumes and rates took a seasonal dip in February, typically a year’s slowest month for freight, reports DAT Solutions, which runs a North American load board.

While February spot market rates for van, refrigerated, and flatbed freight slipped lower month over month, they were still above 2017 levels.

“We expect rates to rebound well before the end of March,” added DAT industry analyst Mark Montague. “The end of the month and quarter coincide with Easter weekend as well as the start of the full penalty phase of the electronic logging device mandate on April 1. Shippers will want to move freight ahead of these key dates, and the additional demand will intensify the strain on capacity, driving rates up.”

The national average spot van rate was US $2.13 per mile in February, down 11 cents compared to January but 52 cents higher than February 2017. 

At $2.42 per mile, the average reefer rate was 22 cents lower month over month and 56 cents higher compared to February 2017. It exceeded the average contract rate for the sixth consecutive month, indicating a related capacity crunch.

The national average flatbed spot rate was $2.36 per mile — one cent lower than the January peak, and 40 cents higher year over year. The spot rate for flatbeds matched the average contract rate last month.

Increased volume at the end of the month and the first few days of March signaled an early start to the spring freight season.


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