U.S. Spot Freight Rates, Availability Continue Lull

BEAVERTON, OR — The availability of truckload freight on the U.S. spot market hit a lull during the week ending July 18, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards, leading to a decline in load-to-truck ratios and rates across all three equipment types and at their lowest points in at least the past four weeks.

The average rate for vans dropped US$0.02 to US$1.85 per mile last week as van load availability fell 15%.

The van load-to-truck ratio slid meaning there were 1.7 available van loads for every truck posted on the DAT network, a 16% decline. Available van capacity was stable, increasing just 1.4%.

The load-to-truck ratio is a sensitive, real-time indicator of the balance between spot market demand and capacity, according to DAT. Changes in the ratio often signal impending changes in rates.

Average outbound spot van rates were down in key markets across much of the country, including Los Angeles, where the average outbound rate fell US$0.03 to US$2.32 per mile; Atlanta, down US$0.06 to US$1.92; Charlotte, down US$0.05 cents to US$2.28; Philadelphia, down US$0.02 to US$1.74; and Houston, down US$0.02 to US$1.63.

The volume of refrigerated load posts fell 20% last week and while truck posts increased 1.3%, yielding a 21% decline in the national average reefer load-to-truck ratio. The ratio of 3.9 loads per truck was accompanied by a US$0.02 drop in the average reefer rate, which slipped to US$2.17 per mile.

The number of flatbed load posts decreased 10.7% while truck posts increased 9.3%, pushing the load-to-truck ratio down 18% to 11.6 flatbed loads per truck. The national average flatbed rate dipped US$0.01 to US$2.15 per mile.

All reported rates include fuel surcharges; the national average price of diesel declined $0.03 to US$2.78 last week.

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