Rates hall of fame: Top 10 U.S. states for outbound freight

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Q2 2014 flatbed rates heat map

Following up my conversation posted yesterday with Scott Moscrip about his thoughts on the “Uberization,” or lack thereof, of trucking, likewise my “Rates hall of shame” post from two weeks back, how about another drumroll for last year’s rates top performers among U.S. states.

The top tens below are reflective of the Truckstop.com (formerly known as Internet Truckstop) average “paid rates” dataset. Though it contains by and large fewer loads than the “posted rates” set, Moscrip notes the paid averages are among verified rates paid to carriers and include no broker “offer” rates, as it were.

2014 top outbound van states

I’ve had more than one reader question the wisdom of the publication of rate averages in general terms since running the “hall of shame” last week. Vivian Anthony, manager of the two-truck Anthony’s Trucking out of Amite City, La., says she’s complained to Truckstop.com about average-rate publication. “They have ruined the business,” she believes, by making such data available, though they’re of course not the only entity out there offering rate data to both brokers and carriers to assist in business decision-making. (Follow this link for our Fall 2014 feature on using supply, demand and average rate data to your advantage in the spot market.)

The problem as she sees it is that “brokers look at that [rate data] and go back to the customer and bargain from that rate” without taking into account what ultimate cut they’re going to take, particularly those who are “new brokers and coming into it,” she says. “We do oversize, and just looking at the board, what we used to get paid for our six-axle – now they’re wanting to pay that on our 7-8-axle truck and trailer.”

2014 top outbound reefer states

Typically, Anthony’s Trucking is looking for at least $4 a mile plus permits for overweight loads, $3 a mile plus permits on oversize loads.

Moscrip addresses questions about the reasoning for rate publication by noting that his company is attempting to give brokers, carriers and shippers tools to assess what is a complicated market in spot freight. Shifts in demand don’t always fall in the favor of the broker, after all. Truck capacity constraints, as he notes in the story from yesterday, have in general terms favored the owner-operator on the spot market this past year and longer on rates, which have risen and remain high in relation to fuel.

“The whole reason that we’re even doing rates is to help speed the negotiation process,” Moscrip says. “It’s a matter of getting the expectations of the carrier and broker closer together before negotiations begin. You’ve got carriers out there who are saying it’s Friday, I’ll go anywhere for $10 a mile. You’ve got brokers saying ‘I only have this much left.'”

The company tries to make available as much as it can “what the broker has offered,” Moscrip says, and “what the average rate posted and paid” is, all toward that goal of bringing expectations closer together to “eliminate some of the animosity that we see between the parties.”

Negotiation speed, as long as the rates are where they should be, might well be appreciated by many operators, but “I’m not about speed when it comes to negotiations,” noted Dan Roe under my post yesterday. “After 5 million miles I just don’t care if I lose a load to another carrier. There are plenty of others. I usually try to let everybody else take what they want, and I’ll take what’s left.”

Your thoughts on the subject overall? Drop them in the comments here. Does knowing historical and trending rate performance on average help you in your day-to-day negotiations and planning?

2014 top outbound flatbed states

And following find heat maps showing average outbound paid rates by state around the nation for this quarter last year, with the caveat that low-load-volume states may skew particularly high or low given a smaller sample size than what’s available in terms of data in high-volume states. Darker-shaded areas represent higher rates. Hover over or (on mobile) tap on the state to show the Q2 2014 rate average. In each maps, the color-coded numbers in the legend at bottom represent a median rate among low, medium and high states.

Van Q2 2014 rates

Reefer Q2 2014 rates

Flatbed Q2 2014 rates

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