Spot market: Van demand on upswing out West

While hurricanes Florence and Michael disrupted supply chains in the Southeast last month, West Coast ports are feeling the effects of a devastating typhoon that battered Hong Kong and Southeast China in September.

Typhoon Mangkhut delayed ships bound for the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the arrival point for 49 percent of Asian imports. Those goods are being offloaded and drayed to warehouses now.

But contract carriers are busy with their regularly scheduled hauls, so a lot of the late-arriving freight gets tendered to brokers and 3PLs. Last Friday, outbound loads outnumbered available trucks in the L.A. market on DAT load boards by more than 10-to-1, lifting rates on lanes to Chicago, Dallas, Phoenix and Denver. The average van rate from L.A. was $2.59/mile, up 4 cents compared to the previous week.

Slight increases in the number of loads and trucks posted on the DAT network of load boards helped slow the downward roll of spot truckload rates during the week ending Oct. 27, a signal that pricing may be firming up ahead of the holiday season.

Nationally, by contrast, the number of van load and truck posts were nearly unchanged and rates were lower on 60 of the top 100 van lanes last week. For reefers, the number of reefer load posts on DAT load boards increased 2 percent last week while truck posts rose less than a single point. Outbound traffic and rates were up at gateways for imports from Mexico, though, including McAllen, Texas ($2.14/mile, up 5 cents). Florida markets are suffering after Hurricane Michael, with two key reefer lanes paying less last week: Lakeland, Florida, to Charlotte lost 19 cents at $1.25/mile; Miami to Baltimore tumbled 31 cents to $1.51/mile.Nationally, by contrast, the number of van load and truck posts were nearly unchanged and rates were lower on 60 of the top 100 van lanes last week. For reefers, the number of reefer load posts on DAT load boards increased 2 percent last week while truck posts rose less than a single point. Outbound traffic and rates were up at gateways for imports from Mexico, though, including McAllen, Texas ($2.14/mile, up 5 cents).  Florida markets are suffering after Hurricane Michael, with two key reefer lanes paying less last week: Lakeland, Florida, to Charlotte lost 19 cents at $1.25/mile; Miami to Baltimore tumbled 31 cents to $1.51/mile.

National average load-to-truck ratios:
Van: 4.7 loads per truck, unchanged from the previous week
Reefer: 6.1 loads per truck, up slightly compared to the previous week
Flatbed: 17.2 loads per truck, declining seasonally and well below the 25.5 monthly average for September

National average spot truckload rates:
Van: $2.10/mile, down 1 cents
Reefer: $2.44/mile, unchanged
Flatbed: $2.47/mile, down 2 cents

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