Spot truckload load volume rose sharply and capacity tightened during the week ending August 2, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.
The overall number of loads posted increased 7.5% compared with the previous week while the number of available trucks decreased 7.4%. Rates were relatively stable as a national average, masking big changes in individual markets and lanes.
The national average van rate fell 1 cent (0.5%) to $2.06 per mile (including fuel surcharge) on the spot market. Load availability rose 6.9% while posted capacity declined 7.7% for the week. The national van load-to-truck ratio jumped 16% to 3.1, meaning there were 3.1 loads posted for every truck available on DAT load boards.
For the month of July, the van load-to-truck ratio averaged 3.2, a 26% drop versus June  but 23% above the level of July 2013.
The national average reefer rate dipped 1 cent (0.4%) to $2.35 per mile, a strong rate historically. The number of posted refrigerated loads rose 7.9% and capacity fell 5.2% compared with the previous week. The resulting refrigerated load-to-truck ratio was up 14% to 8.9 loads per truck.
For July, the average reefer load-to-truck ratio declined 21% to 9.1 from a seasonal high of 11.5 in June. Year-over-year, the load-to-truck ratio was 15% higher than July 2013.
Flatbed rates were unchanged as a national average at $2.44 per mile. Load availability climbed 6.0% while capacity fell 7.1%. The resulting load-to-truck ratio rose 14% from the previous week, from 31.9 to 36.4 loads per truck.
For July, flatbed load volume declined 11% from June and capacity increased 14%, pushing the load-to-truck ratio down 22%. Compared with July 2013, however, there were 52% more flatbed loads and 19% fewer trucks posted, resulting in an 88% gain in the flatbed load-to-truck ratio year-over-year.
The national average fuel price was $3.85 a gallon, down 1 cent from the previous week.
For complete national and regional reports on spot rates and demand, go to www.dat.com/Resources/Trendlines.aspx.