Spot market trends were mixed during the week ending May 24, 2014 as load availability increased for vans and reefers and capacity loosened, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.
Overall load availability on DAT load boards gained 1.7% against a 4.3% increase in posted capacity. Rates edged up for all three equipment types.
Produce season continues to generate demand for refrigerated equipment, especially across the southern United States. The national average spot rate for reefer freight picked up 2 cents (0.9%) to $2.33 per mile (all rates include fuel surcharge). The average rate from Dallas gained 17 cents to $2.15 per mile; Los Angeles was $3.05 per mile, a 13-cent pickup; and Miami jumped 16 cents to $3.12 per mile.
A 5% increase in load availability for reefers was partly offset by a 2.8% decline in capacity. This boosted the load-to-truck ratio 2.0% from 8.6 to 8.7. Load-to-truck ratios represent the number of loads posted for every truck available on the DAT network of load boards. On the spot reefer market, for every available truck last week there were 8.7 available loads. The April average was 9.0.
The national average spot rate for van loads added a penny to $1.97 per mile. Key regional markets include Los Angeles, where the outbound average was up 3 cents to $2.35 per mile; and Dallas, where the average rate was 7 cents higher at $1.97 per mile. The Dallas-to-Houston lane, at $2.88 per mile, was up 17 cents last week on average.
On the volume side, the number of posted van loads gained 3.3%, mostly in the Southeast, while capacity added 6.5%. The national load-to-truck ratio gave up 3.0%, dipping from just under 2.95 to 2.86 for the week.
The national average rate for flatbed loads rose 1 cent to a national average of $2.36 per mile last week. Flatbed load availability was basically even (up 0.3%), as was capacity (a 0.4% increase). As a result, the flatbed load-to-truck ratio showed little change, increasing from 34.1 to 34.2. The average for the month of April was 38.9.
Rates are derived from DAT RateView and the DAT Network of load boards. For a complete national and regional report on spot rates and demand, go to DAT Trendlines is a weekly report on spot market freight availability, truck capacity, and rates.