The number of available loads on the spot truckload freight market jumped 5.4% during the week ending Sept. 30 and tight capacity sent the load-to-truck ratio for van freight into uncharted territory, according to information compiled by DAT Solutions.

Overall the number of available trucks dropped 3.2% last week and pushed load-to-truck ratios higher for all three equipment types:

  • Dry Van: 7.0 loads per truck, up 10%
  • Flatbed: 50.2 loads per truck, up 16%
  • Refrigerated: 12.4 loads per truck, up 2%

National average spot TL rates continue to simmer at two-year highs as well, DAT noted:

  • Dry Van: up 3 cents to $1.97 per mile compared to the previous week. That’s 19 cents higher versus the same period in August and 35 cents higher year-over-year.
  • Flatbed: up 2 cents to $2.27 per mile. Month-over-month sport rates are up 8 cents per mile.
  • Reefer: up a penny to $2.23 per mile, but up 15 cents month-over-month)

In the dry van spot market, the national average rate rose for the fifth straight week, DAT said, and though rates and freight volumes returning to normal after the hurricanes that ravaged the Southeast, supply chains throughout the rest of the U.S. are still feeling the ripple effects. 

Columbus and Chicago are key distribution points for the Midwest and Northeast but van freight volume. Rates to Southeastern markets picked up due to strong seasonal demand and supply chain disruptions following Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, DAT noted:

  • Columbus-Allentown, Pa.: surged 50 cents to an average $3.86 per mile
  • Columbus-Memphis: climbed 37 cents to $2.28 per mile
  • Chicago-Denver: added 38 cents at $3.05 per mile
  • Chicago-Buffalo: up 37 cents to $3.27 per mile
  • Chicago-Dallas: jumped 18 cents to $2.45 per mile

Reefer load posts increased 1% and truck posts declined 1% last week. The ratio of 12.4 reefer loads per truck is the highest volume DAT said it has recorded in several years.

Likewise, flatbed freight is moving in larger volumes to support rebuilding efforts in Florida and the Gulf Coast.

Last week flatbed load posts increased 7% and truck posts declined 8%, which caused the load-to-truck ratio to rise to 50.2 loads per truck; the highest in recent memory, DAT said.