The national average spot rate for flatbed freight hit $1.96/mile during the week ending Feb. 11, the fourth straight week of increases and a 4-cent jump compared to the previous week, said DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

The number of flatbed load posts rose 11% while truck posts declined 1%. This sent the flatbed load-to-truck ratio up 13% to 24.6 loads per truck nationally.

Average rates for spot van and refrigerated freight declined again, a typical pattern for January and February.

Overall, spot load postings on the DAT network increased 1.7% while the number of trucks gained 3.2%, indicating strong freight volumes and available capacity for this time of year.

REEFER TRENDS

The reefer load-to-truck ratio slipped from 5.2 to 4.7 loads per truck nationally as the number of posted reefer loads fell 7% and capacity decreased 5% last week. The average reefer rate edged down 2 cents to $1.89/mile.

The hot market for reefers: Miami, where there was a burst of potato shipments. The better-paying lanes out of Miami last week:

Miami-Elizabeth, N.J., surged 35 cents to $1.84/mile
Miami-Boston was up 33 cents to $1.99/mile
Miami-Atlanta added 33 cents to $1.66/mile

Volume also spiked out of Lakeland, Fla. It’s still too early for a seasonal surge of Florida produce, but the availability of more loads in Florida is a welcomed change compared to recent weeks.

VAN TRENDS

The number of van load posts declined 6% last week while truck posts increased 3%. That caused the load-to-truck ratio to slip from 2.6 to 2.4 loads per truck. 

Despite the lower load-to-truck ratio, the volume of van freight rose 2.5% on the top 100 van lanes and is 2% higher than a month ago. This could a indicate a bottoming-out of van rates if volumes continue to climb.

The national average van rate fell 3 cents compared to the previous week and gave ground in many major markets:

Los Angeles, $1.88/mile, down 2 cents
Chicago, $1.92/mile, down 2 cents
Atlanta, $1.84/mile, down 1 cent
Philadelphia, $1.53/mile, down 6 cents
Dallas, $1.48/mile, down 1 cent

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. All reported rates include fuel surcharges.

Get the latest rate trends at DAT.com