Van freight is staying consistent in terms of volume, in relative terms somewhat strong for this time of year, but an abundance of truck capacity appears to be depressing rates. Shippers and brokers are not having any trouble finding trucks. At once, with the rate slide, the national average is still a few cents above the June average — the typical mid-July slump isn’t as bad for some truckers as it was in previous years.
A downturn in July is a normal seasonal trend on the spot market, but it’s sometimes followed by a rebound in August and September. Things might pick up again soon.
Reefers, on the other hand, are not gonna buck the seasonal trend that is so completely dominated by fruit and vegetable harvests. Reefer freight volumes have moved to the center of the country, where demand is strongest, but rates are down nationally.
Flatbed demand is increasing, meanwhile, and so are rates, but they fell in early July and they haven’t returned to June levels just yet.
Average reefer rates on the lane between Chicago and Atlanta are constantly adjusting. This past week, they averaged about $1.78/mile on the 1,400-mile roundtrip. You can do better. A load of meat or packaged food from Chicago to Atlanta, based on lane averages, might bring about $2.16/mile. Find a load from Atlanta to Memphis, then, at an average $2.77/mile right now. The third leg of your trip back to the Big Windy, from Memphis averaged $2.13/mile last week. Based on those rates, you’ll boost your average rate over the straight return from Atlanta by $1.00/mile, and add almost $1,200 to your total revenue with only 200 more loaded miles. You might also add a day to your trip, so that’s a factor. Two such rounds might round out a good week. Examine the details below.