February on the spot market: The good, the bad and the ugly

user-gravatar

“We’d like nothing more than for March to come in like a lion, and go out like a pack of lions,” noted Ken Harper attendant to this week’s spot market update from the DAT network of load boards. “But we have to get through February first, apparently.”

Traditionally, as also noted last week in the reefer-market update, this is the slowest (and lowest) month on the spot market for freight, and this month’s been no exception, DAT says.

The national average van rate slipped to $1.58 per mile last week, including fuel, which has been falling about a cent a mile for several weeks now. New seasonal demand in March typically leads to a bump in prices. At the risk of stating the obvious, for many carriers March can’t get here soon enough.The national average van rate slipped to $1.58 per mile last week, including fuel, which has been falling about a cent a mile for several weeks now. New seasonal demand in March typically leads to a bump in prices. At the risk of stating the obvious, for many carriers March can’t get here soon enough.

First, the good:
Most of the high-traffic van lanes saw relatively small declines, with a few notable exceptions.

  • Philadelphia to Buffalo lane rates surged 34 cents per mile, likely as a result of terrible weather.
  • Charlotte was the only major market where the average outbound rate actually rose.
  • California markets held steady, for the most part, without significant downturns.
You can make decent money out of Charlotte, judging by rising outbound rate averages there. But once you deliver in Buffalo, however, you’ll want to find a load that pays better than the $1.40-per-mile Buffalo-Charlotte average (seen last week via DAT RateView and the TruckersEdge Enhanced lane-rate analysis). Get a load from Buffalo to pretty much any major freight market in Virginia. One example is Norfolk, as shown in the chart above, where the load-to-truck ratio has been a solid 2.2 loads per truck over the last week. Not bad for February. A load from Norfolk back to Charlotte could boost your average revenue rate on the return to $1.62/mile on an additional 235 loaded miles and an extra $550 on the three-day roundtrip.You can make decent money out of Charlotte, judging by rising outbound rate averages there. But once you deliver in Buffalo, however, you’ll want to find a load that pays better than the $1.40-per-mile Buffalo-Charlotte average (seen last week via DAT RateView and the TruckersEdge Enhanced lane-rate analysis). Get a load from Buffalo to pretty much any major freight market in Virginia. One example is Norfolk, as shown in the chart above, where the load-to-truck ratio has been a solid 2.2 loads per truck over the last week. Not bad for February. A load from Norfolk back to Charlotte could boost your average revenue rate on the return to $1.62/mile on an additional 235 loaded miles and an extra $550 on the three-day roundtrip.

van-hot-states-map-feb-17

Secondly, here’s the bad
Conditions are tough in Texas right now.

  • Dallas outbound rates lost an average of 7 cents per mile on average last week.
  • The lane rate from Houston to New Orleans fell 15 cents.

Finally, the ugly

  • Denver to Dallas’ average lane rate lost 15 cents.
  • Dallas to Denver declined 13 cents.
  • Average roundtrip rate: $1.33 per mile. Ugh.
Showcase your workhorse
Add a photo of your rig to our Reader Rigs collection to share it with your peers and the world. Tell us the story behind the truck and your business to help build its story.
Submit Your Rig
Reader Rig Submission