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Van, reefer linehaul rates, less fuel surcharge, fell last week amid diesel surge

Updated Mar 20, 2022

The number of loads posted to the DAT One load board network fell almost 11.9% during the week of March 6-12, continuing a trend of lower volumes through early 2022. The availability of spot loads has fallen 18% since the first full week of January, DAT reported, and the number of available dry van loads is down almost 94% during that period and 6% lower year over year.

The weekly average van linehaul rate dropped 6 cents to $2.54 per mile compared to the previous week. The reefer rate also fell 6 cents week over week to $2.89 per mile, while the flatbed rate rose a penny to $2.70 a mile. According to DAT, Linehaul rates do not include a fuel surcharge, which was 60 cents a mile for van freight last week, an increase of 15 cents compared to the previous week.

Data from Truckstop.com and FTR Transportation Intelligence for the week ended March 11 also showed that the dry van and refrigerated segments continued to see lower total rates despite record high diesel prices. The firms noted that even though rates in both van segments were higher year over year during the week, both were down year over year excluding fuel.

Truckstop.com and FTR saw a 7-cent decrease in van rates to $2.76 during the week, a 6-cent decrease in reefer rates to $3.10, and a 9-cent increase in flatbed rates to $3.16.

The national average van load-to-truck ratio dipped from 5.9 to 4.7 loads per truck, meaning there were 4.7 dry van loads for every truck on the DAT network. The reefer ratio slipped from 11.0 to 8.9, while the flatbed ratio dropped from 103.5 to 88.5. The flatbed ratio is still significantly higher relative to the same week in recent years, and there are 31% more flatbed loads on the network year over year.

Overall, the number of trucks posted to the DAT network rose 9.2% last week compared to the previous week.

The broker-to-carrier rates posted on the load board include a surcharge. Spot truckload prices were considerably higher this week due to the sharp increase in the fuel surcharge amount.

DAT truckload pricing reports are based on actual loads moved as compiled by the company’s RateView pricing database. The rate on the load board is the “asking price” from the broker.

Market to watch: Lakeland, Florida

Strawberries are shipping out of Lakeland, Florida, near Orlando. The USDA estimates around 213 million total pounds, or 400 truckloads per week, of strawberries will ship from the Lakeland market between January and March.

The reefer load-to-truck ratio there averaged 11.3 last week. Lakeland to Atlanta averaged $2.73 a mile over the last seven days including fuel. That’s 22 cents higher than the March 2021 average.

[Related: Diesel surpasses $5/gallon national average]

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