More trucks posting availability on the spot market last week, after a tight squeeze during the previous week’s Roadcheck inspection blitz, put what would seem to be downward pressure on rates into this week. However, shippers and brokers, given the load-to-truck demand indicators remaining above average, are still having a hard time finding truckload capacity overall.
Truckers thus continue to exercise plenty leverage in spot negotiations, and those shippers and brokers are paying a premium to move spot freight.
June is on track for the highest ever national averages for rates in each equipment type tracked — van, reefer and flatbed. Spot market rates are also higher than contract rates for all three trailer types, meaning brokers are paying more than shipper-direct contract rates for comparable hauls on average. That won’t be true for every load on every lane, of course.
Hot van markets: As high as the national van rate has been this month ($2.30 per mile), prices have been even higher on the top 100 van lanes. Last week, volumes rose by double-digit percentage points in key markets like Dallas, Chicago and Atlanta, and load counts continued to climb in the top market of Los Angeles.
Not so hot: Only a handful of major lanes had rates fall by more than 10 cents per mile. For example, Buffalo, N.Y., to Chicago dropped 14 cents to an average of $1.94 per mile. The Houston to Dallas lane has been hot lately, but it also fell back 14 cents last week to $2.83.
Hot reefer markets: Prices rose on lanes from California up to the Pacific Northwest. Los Angeles to Portland, Ore., climbed 20 cents to an average of $4.13 per mile. One surprise lane last week: Miami to Baltimore jumped up 35 cents to $2.72.
Not so hot: Most Florida rates, however, were down. Lakeland, Fla., to Atlanta dropped 56 cents to $1.91 per mile. The biggest decline was on the lane from Dallas to Denver, which lost a whopping 70 cents but still averaged $2.94 per mile.