Van demand follows reefer up Northwest, falls nationally

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Van truck demand sagged nationally last week, compared to Overdrive‘s last update, from 1.8 to 1.6 loads per truck on all DAT Load Boards, the company reports. It was a 15 percent decline from the average van load to truck ratio from the Labor Day week prior, when 2 loads per truck was the norm. And commensurate with the report last week on reefer freight and rates, demand for reefers in the Pacific Northwest has boosted van demand there as fewer reefers compete for van loads in places like Idaho and Eastern Oregon.

Vented vans, too, can sometimes substitute for reefers to haul fall season crops such as potatoes, apples and onions.

Load-to-truck ratios were high in New Mexico throughout last week as well, shown by the dark red area on the Hot States Map above, but the number of loads there is still relatively low as well.

With the demand dip, spot market rates for vans fell 2 cents week over week to a national average of $1.75 per mile, or even with the average shown with the last update three weeks ago. Rates are still higher on average than they were in August, but most markets slipped lower last week. California was a bright spot, with outbound rates in Stockton seeing an uptick and Los Angeles prices holding steady.With the demand dip, spot market rates for vans fell 2 cents week over week to a national average of $1.75 per mile, or even with the average shown with the last update three weeks ago. Rates are still higher on average than they were in August, but most markets slipped lower last week. California was a bright spot, with outbound rates in Stockton seeing an uptick and Los Angeles prices holding steady.

The average van rate on the lane out of Chicago to Denver, Colo., was just slightly greater than the overall average rate out of the Midwest metropolis, and in normal circumstances with their pick of destinations, truckers would be well justified in turning down any load to Denver. Outbound rates in Denver are almost never good. Today, however, you might consider taking it.

That’s if you can justify (considering deadhead miles, potential for dock delays, added time to the trip and more) breaking up a return trip to the Windy City with a load to Rapid City, S.D., hot right now for vans with a load-to-truck ratio of 6.7. Another from there to Chicago will add $1,000 to your round-trip revenue, based on lane averages derived from DAT RateView and including fuel surcharges.

Considered per-mile, that’s a 30-cent-per-mile boost for the entire round for a $1.84 average for all loaded miles. Examine the details below.

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