Flatbed’s uptick the lone standout in April as rates pullback continues

(Rates data from Truckstop.com.)(Rates data from Truckstop.com.)

Per-mile flatbed rates on the spot market climbed two cents in April, according to Truckstop.com, while van and reefer rates sank a few cents each. April’s rates report, based on transactional data from Truckstop.com’s loadboard and freight-matching platform, signals that rates continue to float downward as the market repositions from 2018’s boom.

Rates generally see an upswing in April, kicking off a usual multi-month climb during the typical spring-to-summer spike in freight demand. That usual rates spike did not materialize this April, however, as rates prod to find new footing in the current economic cycle.

Flatbed rates in April climbed to a $2.40-a-mile national average — up two cents from March but down 26 cents a mile from the same month last year. Flatbed rates peaked at $2.88 a mile last June, then stumbled throughout the second half of 2018 and into the first two months of 2019. Flatbed’s average was 18 cents a mile higher than April 2017’s average of $2.22.

Reefer rates slipped 6 cents a mile in April from March, to $2.32, and were down 39 cents a mile from last April. Reefer rates peaked at $3.02 last June. Reefer’s average was still up 30 cents from April two years ago.

Dry van’s $2.09 average in April was down 4 cents from March and down 40 cents from April 2018. However, the average was up 21 cents a mile from April 2017.

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