With Thanksgiving occurring late in November, the holiday weekend coincided with end-of-month pressures. Spot truckload rates rose sharply on loads that were picked up during the week ending Dec. 1 as brokers tried to attract capacity during the short workweek, said DAT Solutions, which operates DAT electronic marketplace for truckload freight. The number of loads moved declined and load-to-truck ratios fell for all three equipment types, but rates were up for van and reefers for the month of November over the preceding month:
National Average Rates, November
**Van: $1.83 per mile, 3 cents higher than the October average
**Reefer: $2.18 per mile, up 7 cents compared to October
**Flatbed: $2.11 per mile, 6 cents lower than October
Trend to watch: Food on the move
Reefer load-posting activity started the week strong and tapered off toward Thanksgiving Day. Unlike van posts, reefer load-posting activity increased on Friday as goods move through the cold chain and into stores for the holidays ahead. Average outbound rates increased in most major reefer markets but two lanes stood out compared to the previous week:
**Tucson to Los Angeles, up 17 cents to $2.03 per mile, due to an influx of imported produce at the Nogales, Ariz., border crossing. The return trip increased 18 cents to an average of $3.27 per mile.
**Chicago to Kansas City, up 21 cents to $2.66 per mile. The return trip added 12 cents to an average of $2.39 per mile.
Market to watch: Buffalo vans
Canada celebrates Thanksgiving in October, so last week was a regular workweek up north. But supply chains got a bump when Canadian National Railway Co., the country’s biggest railroad, reached a tentative agreement with the union representing 3,200 workers after a week-long strike. Exports of grain, crops, oil, potash, coal and manufactured goods took a serious hit: CN Rail said it was operating at 10% capacity during the strike.
Truckload carriers were able to provide limited relief, and last week lanes out of Buffalo reflected higher truckload rates. Buffalo to Allentown, Pa., was up 26 cents to $3.27 a mile as trucks handled the pent-up demand to move Canadian imports. The return trip from Allentown to Buffalo dropped 5 cents to $2.32 per mile. With rail service resuming and supply chains returning to normal, Buffalo and other ports of entry are markets to watch.