While truckload capacity has been tight all year, pushing up rates, the dynamic has eased gradually in July in somewhat typical seasonal fashion (though spot market conditions are still hotter than at the same time in prior years when it comes to being favorable for truckers).
Rates hit all-time highs early in the month, but the seasonal decline – though prices are much more elevated than usual — has seen rates fall on 76 of the top 100 van lanes this last week.
Hot van markets: Volumes were strong in Los Angeles and Houston last week, but outbound rates were down pretty much everywhere. A handful of lanes had big increases, though. For example, the Pacific Northwest has been one of the weakest regions for outbound rates, but average rates on the lane from Seattle to Stockton, Calif., were up 17 cents to an average of $1.49 per mile. That doesn’t sound impressive, but it’s at least a sign that the Northwest is starting to stabilize.
Not so hot: It’s gotten easier to find trucks across the Southern band of states where load-to-truck ratios are high, compared to how it was in June. Average rates in Southeast markets like Atlanta, Charlotte and Memphis have retreated from their previous peaks.
Hot reefer markets: Prices continued to climb out of Michigan, and outbound rates in Grand Rapids were up 5 percent. Sacramento, Calif., also rebounded, with the average reefer rate on the lane to Denver jumping up 38 cents to $2.96 per mile.
Not so hot: It was a different story in Southern California. The recent heat wave damaged a portion of the avocado crop, which took a bite out of volumes and rates. For example, the average rate for reefer loads moving from Ontario, Calif., to Chicago plunged 63 cents to $2.24 per mile.