Spot market in the last week: Load/truck ratios jump as rates fall back slightly

An influx of imports at West Coast ports helped push load-to-truck ratios higher on DAT load boards for spot van and refrigerated freight during the week ending Nov. 3, said DAT Solutions. National average spot rates, however, continued to slide, if only slightly.

National average load-to-truck ratios:
Van: 5.2 loads per truck, up 10 percent compared to the previous week
Refrigerated: 6.8 loads per truck, up 11 percent
Flatbed: 17.0 loads per truck, down 1.5 percent

National average spot truckload rates:
Van: $2.09 per mile, down 1 cents
Reefer: $2.41 per mile, down 3 cents
Flatbed: $2.45 per mile, down 2 cents

Trend to Watch: Capacity

While the number of available trucks fell 2.8 percent last week, spot market capacity is trending up. During October, there were 25 percent more trucks posted on DAT load boards compared to September, and 37 percent more compared to October 2017.

Market to Watch: Atlanta

Van freight volume is building on the top eight lanes originating in Atlanta. That signals the start of a rebound, although rates aren’t increasing yet. Inbound volume is also on the rise, leaving plenty of trucks looking for loads outbound.

One big source of inbound freight is the Los Angeles market. L.A. to Atlanta was up 12 cents per mile last week, to $2.23. That’s exceptionally high for a trip of 2,000-plus miles. The return trip lost 4 cents, however, to $1.49 per mile, for a roundtrip average of $1.86.

For vans leaving Atlanta, only three of the top eight lanes got a rate increase last week, and the only significant change was from Atlanta to Memphis, up 6 cents to $1.77 per mile. The inbound rate from Memphis to Atlanta dropped 2 cents to $2.59 per mile, so carriers did better on the roundtrip. Why that lane? Memphis is not a popular destinations for over-the-road carriers leaving Atlanta, so brokers chose to sweeten the deal.

Carriers want loads from Atlanta to Miami, Chicago, or Dallas | The map above depicts truck posts and load searches by carriers originating in Atlanta in October 2018, kicking off the holiday freight season. Lighter blue, thicker lines represent the most popular destinations. The Atlanta market itself was the destination favored by the largest number of carriers during the month, as indicated by the dark orange spot.Carriers want loads from Atlanta to Miami, Chicago, or Dallas | The map above depicts truck posts and load searches by carriers originating in Atlanta in October 2018, kicking off the holiday freight season. Lighter blue, thicker lines represent the most popular destinations. The Atlanta market itself was the destination favored by the largest number of carriers during the month, as indicated by the dark orange spot. Most loads leaving Atlanta are bound for Florida | This map show load posts and truck searches by freight brokers originating in Atlanta in October 2018.Most loads leaving Atlanta are bound for Florida | This map show load posts and truck searches by freight brokers originating in Atlanta in October 2018.

Central Florida was the number-one delivery point for Atlanta-outbound loads posted on DAT load boards in October, followed by Miami. Increased volume on those lanes drove up rates for vans last week:

**Atlanta to Lakeland, Fla.: $2.90 per mile, up 2 cents
**Atlanta to Miami: $2.73 per mile, up 1 cent

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