Holiday week brought more spot rates highs, though vans and reefers are moderating this week

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Freight rates reached record heights at the end of June, only to skyrocket even higher during the July 4 holiday week. The national average rates set new records again for vans and reefers, even though load-to-truck ratios drifted back down to earth.

At once, “we’ve seen load-to-truck ratios and prices coming back down this week,” says DAT’s Matt Sullivan, from last week’s highs “now that everyone’s back on a full work week.”At once, “we’ve seen load-to-truck ratios and prices coming back down this week,” says DAT’s Matt Sullivan, from last week’s highs “now that everyone’s back on a full work week.”

Hot van markets: Seattle rebounded with a 5 percent increase in rates; Chicago regained some traction, too, with a 3 percent bump; and high-traffic lanes out of Buffalo, N.Y., also got a 3 percent boost.

In fact, van freight moves from Chicago to Buffalo added 29 cents, to $3.22 per mile.

Not so hot: Most of the markets with declining rates had small changes. Los Angeles rates climbed down from crazy heights, but outbound rates are still very high. Denver outbound rates were even less attractive than usual, and the lane from Denver to Chicago slipped 9 cents to a paltry $1.34 per mile. The biggest rate drop among major markets was on the lane from Atlanta to Philadelphia, which lost 26 cents to $3.68 per mile.

Van hauls from Chicago to Denver booked at an average of $2.96 per mile last week, but the return trip from Denver to Chicago, as is typical of so much out of Denver, was a miserable $1.34 per mile for 1,000-plus miles. While that rate is coming up this week, it hasn’t moved much, and there are not a lot of loads available. You can do better with a load from Denver to Sioux Falls, S.D., where the rates are $1.88 per mile. You’ll be in position there to load back to Chicago at around $2.18, last week’s lane average there. Those rates are below the national average, but they’ll help you boost your rate per loaded mile up to $2.44 for the trip, instead of the roundtrip $2.22, and on a couple hundred extra miles.Van hauls from Chicago to Denver booked at an average of $2.96 per mile last week, but the return trip from Denver to Chicago, as is typical of so much out of Denver, was a miserable $1.34 per mile for 1,000-plus miles. While that rate is coming up this week, it hasn’t moved much, and there are not a lot of loads available. You can do better with a load from Denver to Sioux Falls, S.D., where the rates are $1.88 per mile. You’ll be in position there to load back to Chicago at around $2.18, last week’s lane average there. Those rates are below the national average, but they’ll help you boost your rate per loaded mile up to $2.44 for the trip, instead of the roundtrip $2.22, and on a couple hundred extra miles. Reefer rates also exceeded June’s record highs last week, with shippers and brokers paying a premium to move temperature-controlled freight on many high-volume lanes around the holiday. The national average spot market rate jumped 8 cents higher to $2.77 per mile, but prices were volatile last week, with sharp increases on some lanes and steep declines on others.Reefer rates also exceeded June’s record highs last week, with shippers and brokers paying a premium to move temperature-controlled freight on many high-volume lanes around the holiday. The national average spot market rate jumped 8 cents higher to $2.77 per mile, but prices were volatile last week, with sharp increases on some lanes and steep declines on others. 

Hot markets: There were strong increases on lanes out of the Upper Midwest. Reefer rates on the lane from Green Bay, Wis., to Minneapolis led the way, shooting up 68 cents to an average of $3.72 per mile. Several outbound Chicago lanes also paid higher prices, like the one to Philadelphia. There were also some late-season bumps in rates out of Central Florida, with Lakeland to Atlanta up 30 cents on average at $2.24 per mile.

Not so hot: Some lanes paid better out of Los Angeles, but otherwise California reefer rates were down last week. As you can see in the load-to-truck ratio map above, brokers and shippers had an easier time finding trucks there last week compared to much of the country. Prices on the Atlanta to Philadelphia lane also came tumbling back down to earth.

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