It wasn’t exactly a fireworks display, but national average spot van and refrigerated freight rates sparkled a bit last week as shippers looked for carriers to move freight during a compressed delivery window.
Load-posting volume on the spot market fell 45% compared to the previous week with businesses operating on reduced schedules due to the Fourth of July holiday, said DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.
National average spot rates, through July 6
**Van: $1.91/mile, 2 cents higher than the June average and 12 cents higher than May
**Reefer: $2.28/mile, 4 cents higher than June
**Flatbed: $2.30/mile, unchanged from June
Trend to watch: Prime time
Though the van load-to-truck ratio fell nationally from 3.2 to 2.0, more than a point below the June average of 3.1, spot rates were higher on 52 of the nation’s top 100 van lanes and there’s reason to think that both pricing and volumes will improve soon.
July 15 kicks off Amazon Prime Day. Over a 48-hour period, Amazon will offer deep Prime Day discounts on an array of consumer goods, including groceries at Whole Foods. Not to be outdone, Amazon rivals like Walmart, Best Buy, Target, and eBay plan to run sales of their own at or around the same time, likely to result in more van and/or reefer volumes.
Market to watch: Grand Rapids reefers
The Fourth of July holiday week helped send the national average reefer load-to-truck ratio down significantly. But as with vans, rates were solid: of DAT’s top 72 reefer lanes by volume, rates were higher on 46 and declined on 23. Three lanes were neutral.
Finally, there was good news in the Midwest as the average outbound rate from Grand Rapids, Mich., increased 17 cents to $2.73/mile. Grand Rapids to Cleveland surged 44 cents to $3.87/mile and Grand Rapids to Atlanta gained 32 cents to $2.23/mile. It’s too early for Michigan apples, but asparagus, blackberries, peaches, potatoes, and strawberries appear ready to move.