Rates relatively stable in all segments, though indicators strengthen for flatbed

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Demand for vans and refrigerated trucks on the spot truckload freight market held strong during the week ending Dec. 1, said DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards. National average rates in both segments increased 1 cent per mile, while the flatbed rate held steady, halting an eight-week decline.

National Average Spot Truckload Rates:
**Van: $2.08/mile, up 1 cent compared to the previous week
**Flatbed: $2.40/mile, unchanged
**Reefer: $2.47/mile, up 1 cent

National Average Load-to-Truck Ratios:
**Van: 7.2 loads per truck
**Flatbed: 23.9, up from 15.9
**Reefer: 8.3

Trend to Watch: Meat and Potatoes
With the holidays approaching, regions that produce dinner-table items—meat, vegetables, fruit, and dairy—are seeing big upticks in reefer volumes. The biggest reefer rate increases were scattered on lanes across the country:

**L.A. to Denver, up 29 cents to $3.52/mile
**Elizabeth, N.J., to Boston, up 28 cents to $4.43/mile
**Grand Rapids to Philadelphia, up 35 cents to $3.98/mile
**Dallas to Houston, up 19 cents to $3.05/mile
**Twin Falls, Idaho, to Baltimore—a long-haul reefer lane—gained 24 cents to $3.26/mile.

Market to Watch: Buffalo

The Buffalo market averaged a 6.0 van load-to-truck ratio last week but it’s a hub of regional retail and e-commerce van freight (the darker the red, the greater the load-to-truck ratio).The Buffalo market averaged a 6.0 van load-to-truck ratio last week but it’s a hub of regional retail and e-commerce van freight (the darker the red, the greater the load-to-truck ratio).

Los Angeles has been the No. 1 market for van freight over the past four weeks for outbound van rates increases. The next in line? Buffalo. The average outbound van rate from Buffalo was unchanged at $2.70/mile week over week, but it’s up more than 5 percent over the last month.

Buffalo is a strong market for regional retail and e-commerce freight. It’s a potential revenue booster as part of a triangular route within the Northeast. Van rates from Columbus, Ohio, to Allentown, Pa., were up to $3.36/mile last week. Allentown-Columbus paid only an average of $1.77, but Allentown to Buffalo paid $2.85/mile on average and Buffalo to Columbus $2.52. Adding the extra leg in a triangular route would add about 220 miles, not counting deadhead. But getting paid just the average rate on each leg could boost your revenue by nearly $1,000, or 39 cents per loaded mile, for the round trip.

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