A variety of haulers seemed to have adjusted their schedules last week to make sure they were home in time for Memorial Day weekend: fewer owner-ops posted their availability on the spot market, and the tighter truckload capacity pushed rates higher across much of the country. Rates in many major markets are the highest they’ve been since April 1, and strong volumes have June on track to become a second peak month of the year (the first being January).
The national average flatbed rate hit a record high last week, climbing to $2.73 per mile ahead of Memorial Day. Last week’s key markets were also outside Texas, which shows the diversification in the flatbed segment – it’s not just the booming energy sector.
Hot markets: Demand is red hot out of Atlanta and the rest of Georgia. Cleveland has been relatively cool as of late, but prices were up 3 percent last week. Out West, outbound flatbed rates in Las Vegas have risen 15 percent in just the past week. Of 15 top flatbed markets, 10 had average rates above $3 per mile last week.
Not so hot: By comparison, Houston has been largely neutral for the month. One lane took a step back last week: Houston to Wichita, Kan., fell 34 cents to an average of $2.81 per mile.
Hot van markets: California markets had the biggest uptick in prices, with Los Angeles and Stockton outbound rates up 5 percent and 4 percent respectively. Atlanta also continues to gain strength. The lane to Columbus, Ohio, surged 39 cents to an average rate of $2.58 per mile. The southbound trip usually pays more, so the fact that this lane has flipped is a sign of how strong the Atlanta market is right now.
Not so hot: Increases in the number of inbound loads pushed rates lower out of Denver and Philadelphia, since those inbound loads meant there were more trucks competing for outbound loads.