An “unusual surge” of truckload freight took shape at the end of July, according to DAT Solutions, which led to higher-than-normal volumes on the spot market. Typically, July is a month when spot truckload freight activity begins to decline, the company pointed out.

The number of available loads increased 2% while truck posts edged down 2% for the week that ended July 29 compared to the previous week, DAT said. Yet the national average load-to-truck ratios stayed firm with the dry van load-to-truck ratio inching up to 5.3 from 4.8, while flatbeds remained at 36.1 and reefers held at 8.5.

Yet rates are staying flat as well, the company indicated. While the top 100 dry van lanes set all-time records for volumes last week, while load posts increased 6% and posted truck capacity decreased 2%, rates did not respond

The national average dry van rate fell 2 cents to $1.79 per mile, with DAT recording declines in several major regions: Chicago ($2.08/mile, down 1 cent), Los Angeles ($2.15/mile, down 3 cents), Houston ($1.76/mile, down 3 cents), and Charlotte ($2.16/mile, down 3 cents).

Demand for refrigerated trailer capacity remained strong in late July as well, as load posts increased 5% and truck posts declined 2%. The national average rate for reefer service, though, fell 1 cent to $2.08/mile.

Though DAT said “harsh weather” is taking a toll on crops and thus agriculture-related shipments, several refrigerated lanes showed solid gains:

  • Grand Rapids-Cleveland added 50 cents to $4.12/mile
  • Grand Rapids-Madison rose 32 cents to $3.19/mile
  • Chicago-Atlanta was up 32 cents to $2.59/mile
  • Sacramento-Denver added 26 cents to $2.55/mile

The highest outbound average reefer rate last week was Green Bay, a penny higher at $2.88/mile, while Chicago added 11 cents to $2.46/mile.

DAT noted that flatbed load posts declined 1% last week while truck posts fell 4%. At $2.19/mile, the national average flatbed rate was 1 cent higher compared to the previous week.