Illustrating how Hurricane Florence affected spot market demand

The national average spot van rate and reefer rates each fell a penny to $2.15/mile and $2.53/mile, respectively, for the week ending Sept. 22, while the flatbed rate declined two cents to $2.56/mile. The overall number of loads posted on DAT load boards decreased that week as well, as access to the Carolinas likely prevented stronger demand from forming.

This situation will likely turn around as relief and replenishment supplies move in, however. When a weather event like Hurricane Florence is in the forecast, common sense and experience will tell you there’s an opportunity to help shippers position inventory ahead of time.

The following two market maps from DAT Solutions show what that looks like. Red reflects a higher inbound load-to-truck ratio for van freight, meaning there were more available loads for each available truck on the DAT network of load boards for a given market.

Inbound load-to-truck ratio, vans, for the week ending Sept. 9

The week ending Sept. 9 shows a fairly typical demand spread, with areas of high demand (red) throughout the country.The week ending Sept. 9 shows a fairly typical demand spread, with areas of high demand (red) throughout the country.

Inbound load-to-truck ratio, vans, for the week ending Sept. 16

The picture changes during the week ending Sept. 16, with the need for inbound vans concentrated around Charlotte and elsewhere in the region. Elsewhere, demand cooled.The picture changes during the week ending Sept. 16, with the need for inbound vans concentrated around Charlotte and elsewhere in the region. Elsewhere, demand cooled.

For the following week, van rates increased on several lanes from the Northeast and Southeast into Charlotte, including Philadelphia to Charlotte, which jumped 21 cents to $2/mile compared to the previous week.

Expect more opportunities to move flatbed loads into the Carolinas in the coming weeks as the need for heavy equipment and building supplies increases during the recovery. The spot flatbed rate from Baltimore to Charlotte paid an average of $1.91/mile last week, up 12 cents compared to the previous week.

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