Load postings jumped 29% and load-to-truck ratios rose for all three equipment types during the week ending Sept. 29, said DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT electronic marketplace for spot truckload freight. That reversed the 25% loss in volume during the previous week when Tropical Storm Imelda delayed supply chains in the Houston area and other regions across the Southeast and Midwest.
The number of truck posts increased 19%, rebounding from a 17% decline the previous week.
National average spot rates, September 2019 (through Sept. 29)
**Van: $1.84 per mile, 3 cents higher than the August average
**Flatbed: $2.19 per mile, 1 cent lower than August
**Reefer: $2.17 per mile, 3 cents higher than August
Trend to watch: Flagging rates
The national average van load-to-truck ratio averaged 2.2, up from 2.1 the previous week. Volume from Houston increased 20% and Charlotte was up 19%, signs that volumes have recovered from weather-related disruptions.
Rates typically rise when freight volumes increase, especially during the final week of a business quarter. But national average spot van, refrigerated, and flatbed rates were largely unmoved week over week, and spot van rates were higher on only 32 of DAT’s Top 100 largest van lanes by volume. The one market that stood out last week was Seattle, which rose 6 cents to an average outbound rate of $1.63 per mile, mostly on southbound lanes. Seattle to Los Angeles gained 8 cents to a still low average of $1.31 per mile.
Market to watch: McAllen, Texas, produce
Reefer volumes from McAllen, Texas, increased 23% compared to the previous week and the average outbound rate rose 11 cents to $2.00 per mile. After a week of bad weather, importers had a backlog of produce to move from McAllen to major U.S. markets: the average rate to Chicago gained 14 cents to $1.86 per mile, and McAllen to Atlanta was up 12 cents to $2.03 per mile.
Nationally, the average reefer load-to-truck ratio increased from 3.9 to 4.2 as volumes picked up 2.4% compared to the previous week. However, like the van market, reefer rates did not respond: on DAT’s 72 largest reefer lanes by volume, rates were higher on just 18 and lower on 51.