Load-to-truck ratios for spot truckload freight jumped sharply for all three equipment types during the week ending June 10, according to data tracked by DAT Solutions, with the van spot-load-ratio reaching its highest point in three years.

The number of available loads on DAT load boards was up 30% compared to the previous week, which was shortened by the Memorial Day holiday and included the annual Roadcheck inspection blitz. A 20% increase is more in line with expectations, the company said.
DAT added that brokers and shippers paid a premium for capacity in most major markets and lanes, with load-to-truck ratios reflected the increased freight activity:

  • Van ratio: 5.7 loads per truck, up 12%
  • Reefer ratio: 10.1, up 33%
  • Flatbed ratio: 49.2, up 27%

Nationally, the number of posted van loads increased 12% while truck posts were 8% higher, DAT noted, with the national average van rate gaining 6 cents to $1.79 per mile – continuing a run of week-over-week increases. Of the top 100 van lanes, only 26 had lower rates, the firm said.

Outbound rates were up in almost every major van freight market: Los Angeles was $2.28/mile, up 10 cents; Chicago was $2.06/mile, up 6 cents; Dallas was $1.76/mile, up 3 cents; Charlotte was $2.16/mile, up 11 cents; and Philadelphia was $1.73/mile, up 5 cents.

Reefer load posts increased 30% while truck posts fell 2%, which helped move the national average rate 7 cents higher to $2.11/mile. California shipments are expected to stay strong for at least through the Fourth of July holiday, and a few lanes crossed the $3 mark: Fresno-Denver surged 61 cents to $3.14/mile; Los Angeles-Portland, Oregon, was up 45 cents to $3.33/mile; Sacramento-Portland added 50 cents to $3.21/mile; and Sacramento-Salt Lake City rose 27 cents to an average of $3.00/mile.

Florida outbound rates for reefers tumbled, though, including Lakeland-Charlotte, which plunged 84 cents to an average of $1.82/mile.

The flatbed load-to-truck ratio skyrocketed as load posts increased 38% while truck posts increased 9%. The national average rate increased 3 cents last week to $2.15/mile, the highest weekly average rate in nearly two years. Flatbed demand can be volatile and shifts on a lane-by-lane basis. Key movers last week: Las Vegas ($2.82/mile, up 36 cents), Cleveland ($2.31/mile, up 11 cents), and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania ($3.41/mile, up 2 cents).