Van freight volume, rates ease off recent hot streak

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Updated Jul 31, 2017

The recent surge in van freight volume and rates appears to have run its course, according to DAT Solutions’ weekly spot market rate update. Both volume and rates dipped in the most recent week. Those dips, however, are “coming off of some of the highest prices we’ve seen in years,” says DAT pricing expert Ken Harper. Top 100 van lanes hit record highs two weeks ago, according to DAT data.

The decline in van volume is typical for late July, Harper notes, but “there are still lots of dark red areas in the [heat map],” he says.

Dat Van Hot States Map 2017 July16 22 1 2017 07 28 09 31

Hot markets: Denver saw the largest week to week increase in outbound rates, but, says Harper, van loads out of Denver “typically don’t pay well.” Charlotte and Los Angeles continued to be the strongest markets for rates, while Atlanta is still No. 1 for volume.

Not so hot: Retail activity slowed after a busy first half of the month, so there was less van freight heading into distribution centers in the Northeast. That pushed rates down on lanes like Columbus, Ohio, to Buffalo, N.Y., which fell 21 cents to an average of $2.62 per mile.

Dat Reefer Hot States Map 2017 July16 22 2017 07 28 09 31

Reefer overview: Reefer trends mostly mirrored van. Many crops haven’t quite hit their mark this year, Haper say. “Or in the case of a crop like grapes, harvests have been delayed. That could still be affecting load counts out of California.”

Hot markets: The biggest increases in reefer rates were concentrated in the Midwest. “Things are looking up out of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Apple harvests are getting underway, and the early varieties have been shipping. Cucumbers and blueberries have been the top crops for July, though,” Harper says.

Not so hot: Reefer volume and rates out of Florida continued to slide. There were higher reefer volumes out of Denver, says Harper, but there were lower inbound rates. The lane from Los Angeles to Denver dropped 29 cents to an average of $2.63 per mile.