Dry van and flatbed rates slipped further in May, reefer rates ticked up


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Rates on the spot market remained depressed in May as the economic toll of the COVID-19 pandemic and the corresponding state shutdown orders dragged on. Most states started easing restrictions in early to mid-May, and economic activity has picked up some since bottoming out in late April.

Nonetheless, dry van and flatbed segments saw per-mile spot rates deteriorate further in May from April, with flatbed falling 6 cents a mile to $2.21 and van dipping 5 cents from April to $1.84 on average. That’s van’s lowest monthly average since January 2017, coming out of the 2016 freight recession. Likewise, May was the worst month for flatbed rates since March 2017.

Reefer rates in May, meanwhile, trended upward, likely buoyed by the beginning of the spring produce season. Per-mile spot reefer rates climbed 3 cents on average to $2.15 a mile. Other than April, that’s reefer’s worst month since August 2017.

These numbers are national averages based on the tens of thousands of freight transactions that take place on Truckstop.com’s loadboard each month. Owner-operators have consistently reported in recent months rate offerings of $1 a mile or less.

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