While the spot market often “goes into hibernation the last week of July,” says DAT’s Ken Harper, that was certainly not the case this year. DAT boards “saw record freight volumes for vans on the Top 100 lanes,” he adds, though rates didn’t keep up, “largely because weaker reefer freight had those trucks competing with vans, so there was excess capacity on many lanes.”
National average van rates dropped 2 cents to $1.79.
Van overview: As noted, van volumes got a welcome boost to close out July, which led to an uptick in load posts on DAT load boards. It’s unusual to get a surge in freight that late in July, but the top 100 van lanes set all-time records for volumes last week.
Hot markets: The three markets with the biggest increases for van rates also happened to be in areas where nearby crop yields have been strong this year: Philadelphia, Seattle and Buffalo, N.Y.
Not so hot: Demand for dry vans is still high across the South, but in the late summer we usually see activity shift to the Midwest. As a result, we’ve seen some seasonal adjustments on lanes out of Atlanta. For example, the average rate for a van load going from Atlanta to Chicago was down 14 cents to $1.47 per mile.
Reefer overview: There’s been a nice run of higher rates on many of the top reefer lanes. High heat is taking a toll on crops in some regions, though, and triple digits in Northern California and the Pacific Northwest could hamper produce shipments there in the near future. Although reefer freight in general was down, the upper Midwest was strong, as it usually is this time of year, with fruits (apples, berries, etc.) and vegetables there being harvested.
Hot markets: The Midwest is also coming on strong for reefer demand. Michigan harvests are pushing reefer rates higher out of Grand Rapids. The lucky lane of the week came out of Grand Rapids to Cleveland, the average rate jumping 50 cents to a whopping $4.12 per mile.
Not so hot: Florida’s peak shipping season has been in the rearview for a few weeks now, but the lane from Lakeland, Fla., to Baltimore took another sharp decline last week, down 39 cents to $1.46 per mile. Prices were also down out of the Mexican border markets of Nogales, Ariz., and McAllen, Texas.