Trucks flooded the spot market last week returning from holidays — rates fell 4-6 cents/mile nationally

Holidays are over, it’s certain. The large majority of the trucking world is back to work. The number of trucks posted on the spot truckload freight market increased 77 percent last week, well ahead of the 9 percent gain in available loads, said DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

The capacity surge swamped national average rates. After rising a bit during the holidays, spot dry van, reefer, and flatbed rates all declined.

National average spot rates
*Van: $2.05/mile, down 6 cents
*Flatbed: $2.42/mile, down 4 cents
*Reefer: $2.42/mile, down 5 cents

National average load-to-truck ratios
The capacity imbalance also led to big drops in national average load-to-truck ratios:

*Van: 4.6, down 48% from 8.9
*Flatbed: 25.1, down 26% from 33.7
*Reefer: 6.1, down 38% from 9.8

Trend to watch: Line-haul van rates and fuel
Rates were lower on 84 of the top 100 van lanes by volume, but that doesn’t show the full picture. The line-haul portion of the national average spot van rate is equal to the December figure thus far in January. Only the fuel portion is down—the average price of diesel was $2.97 per gallon on Jan. 14. That’s 4 cents less compared to the previous week. For truckers, the steady line-haul rate shows that pricing power is intact. For now.

Market to watch: Another look at vans out of Houston

There was a whopping 85 percent increase in the number of loads that moved on the seven highest-volume lanes out of Houston last week, compared to the New Year’s holiday week that preceded it. There were more loads, but there was also more competition on the carrier side as everyone revved up for the first full week of 2019.There was a whopping 85 percent increase in the number of loads that moved on the seven highest-volume lanes out of Houston last week, compared to the New Year’s holiday week that preceded it. There were more loads, but there was also more competition on the carrier side as everyone revved up for the first full week of 2019.

Hot lanes: Houston to Oklahoma City was the standout, up 12 cents to $2.18/mile. Houston to Atlanta also bucked the week’s overall downward movement, adding a penny to an average of $1.85/mile on the 800-mile trip.

Not so hot: Houston to Dallas lost 15 cents on average, and the return trip dropped 25 cents.

The Business Manual for Owner-Operators
Overdrive editors and ATBS present the industry’s best manual for prospective and committed owner-operators. You’ll find exceptional depth on many issues in the 2021 edition of Partners in Business.
Download
Partners in Business Issue Cover