Spot market update: Slight demand improvements for van, reefer

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Load availability was slightly lower last week for vans and flatbeds, but load-to-truck ratios rose because fewer trucks were posted. Rates slipped a cent for vans and reefers but are recovering already this week, given tighter capacity and an increase in the fuel surcharge.

“Small wins this year” for freight, notes DAT’s Ken Harper. “But a W is still a W.”

California is improving for vans and reefers, and you can always find a load in Texas — outbound rates, however, remain low in the Lone Star State.

Texas and California are Hot States for vans this week, as demand increases all across the Southern band of states. Rates are trending up in Stockton, CA and Buffalo, NY. There are lots of loads in Atlanta, but rates are moving down. Chicago van freight has been weak this spring, and it’s not improving yet.Texas and California are Hot States for vans this week, as demand increases all across the Southern band of states. Rates are trending up in Stockton, CA and Buffalo, NY. There are lots of loads in Atlanta, but rates are moving down. Chicago van freight has been weak this spring, and it’s not improving yet. Though reefer rates lost the aforementioned cent-per-mile last week on a national basis, it can be considered part of a seasonal transition. Atlanta and Lakeland, Fla., remain the top two markets for outbound reefer loads, and rates rose out of Miami last week due to avocado harvests. But California fruit and vegetables are ripening, and rates are trending up in Sacramento and Ontario. Load-to-truck ratios climbed in the Southern band of states, as demand increased from Georgia west to Arizona, and rates can be expected to follow, perhaps as soon as this week.Though reefer rates lost the aforementioned cent-per-mile last week on a national basis, it can be considered part of a seasonal transition. Atlanta and Lakeland, Fla., remain the top two markets for outbound reefer loads, and rates rose out of Miami last week due to avocado harvests. But California fruit and vegetables are ripening, and rates are trending up in Sacramento and Ontario. Load-to-truck ratios climbed in the Southern band of states, as demand increased from Georgia west to Arizona, and rates can be expected to follow, perhaps as soon as this week.

The two easiest places to find loads on DAT Load Boards this past week have been Atlanta and Houston, but for reefers, rates are not great, especially in Houston. On average, Atlanta to Houston is bringing $1.58 per mile, but a load straight back is averaging just $1.18. Try St. Louis, or Cape Girardeau, Mo., 120 miles to the south, as a destination. Cape Girardeau is actually a Hot Market these days, with a load-to-truck ratio of 4.8, almost three times the national average for reefers. A third load to Atlanta completes the triangle with 2,000 total loaded miles instead of 1,600 for the Atlanta-Houston roundtrip. The average rate for the return $1.38 up to $1.65 per mile. Examine total revenue numbers below to make your own estimates of a per-day average for the trip.

DAT-VanTriHaul-2016-May15-21

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