After an 18% gain the previous week, spot truckload volumes retreated 14% during the week ending Jan. 21, reports DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards. 

Available capacity increased 13% and load-to-truck ratios declined for all equipment types. But volumes and load-to-truck ratios started out higher than normal for this time of year, and it’s typical for load counts to taper off, the update suggests.

Van and reefer rates dipped on lower demand for trucks: 

  • Vans: $1.70/mile, down 2 cents
  • Reefers: $2.98/mile, down 2 cents
  • Flatbeds: $1.90/mile, up 1 cent

VAN TRENDS

The number of available vans increased 14% last week while van load posts were down 16%. The van load-to-truck ratio fell a full point from 3.9 to 2.9 loads per truck.

The holiday retail season has now fully receded as spot van rates continue to soften in key markets: 

  • Los Angeles, $1.95/mile, down 5 cents
  • Chicago, $2.06/mile, down 5 cent
  • Dallas, $1.54/mile, down 2 cents
  • Atlanta, $1.88/mile, down 2 cents
  • Philadelphia, $1.70/mile, down 5 cents

Few lanes paid better last week, though backhaul lanes generally held firm. A couple lanes rebounded from large drops in previous weeks.

  • Chicago-Buffalo paid an average of $2.41/mile, 12 cents better
  • Buffalo-Charlotte was up 9 cents to $1.75/mile

REEFER TRENDS

The reefer load-to-truck ratio dropped to 6.7 loads per truck, a response to an 18% decline in load posts and 12% fall in the number of posted trucks. 

There was a surge in loads out of Dallas and McAllen, Texas, and California in particular is more active after a week of difficult weather. 

Volumes are still light out of central Florida, since the main crop harvests for this season haven’t started yet, but the backhaul lane from Lakeland-Charlotte recovered 25 cents to $1.46/mile as an average.

In general, spot reefer rates were down across the Midwest and Northeast, and few lanes had big drops:

  • Chicago-Philadelphia fell an average of 25 cents to $2.68/mile
  • Reefer rates from Denver-Houston were down 28 cents to a more typical $1.68/mile. Maybe those beer coolers for the Super Bowl in Houston are already full?

FLATBED TRENDS

Flatbed demand fell as load posts declined 10% and truck posts increase 12%. That sent the load-to-truck ratio down from 27.1 to 21.8 loads per truck.

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