Spot truckload freight volume fell 2 percent during the week ending April 7, while a 9 percent increase in available capacity in the form of trucks posted kept van and refrigerated rates from moving, said DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.
One reason for the increased supply of trucks: Slow produce harvests have prompted reefer carriers to compete for spot van freight. Flatbed, meanwhile, fared much better.
National average spot rates through April 7
*Van: $1.86/mile, 1 cent higher than the March average
*Reefer: $2.17/mile, same as the March average
*Flatbed: $2.40/mile, 6 cents higher than March
Diesel prices jumped a penny to $3.09 per gallon.
Trend to watch: Van capacity
Van volumes declined compared to the previous week — not unusual for early April, since there was extra activity in late March for the close of Q1. There are actually more van loads moving through the spot market than at this time last year.
But there are also plenty trucks. The national average van load-to-truck ratio declined last week to 1.3 loads per truck and rates rose on just 38 of the top 100 van lanes. Fifty-eight lanes fell and four were unchanged. No van lanes in the top 100 rose by more than 10 cents a mile.
Market to watch: Florida reefers
Pricing has been volatile on individual reefer lanes, but the national average spot rate was unchanged compared to the previous week. On the top 72 reefer lanes, rates on 36 were up, 33 were down, and three stayed the same.