Today’s Pickup: Dry van, reefer rates hit 3-year monthly highs in November

 The spot rate for van loads in November averaged a 3-year high of $2.07 per mile, DAT said. ( Photo: Shutterstock )
The spot rate for van loads in November averaged a 3-year high of $2.07 per mile, DAT said. ( Photo: Shutterstock )

Good day,

Dry van spot rates hit a 3-year monthly high in November, according to data compiled by DAT Solutions. The November rate was $2.07 per mile, the highest monthly average since December 2014, the firm said, and 5 cents above October levels. The average refrigerated rate gained 11 cents to $2.43, the highest monthly average since June 2014.

Weekly rates also remained high, with the van rate for the week ending Dec. 9 rising 1 cent to $2.10 per mile. The national average refrigerated rate tumbled 7 cents to $2.40 per mile as there was a lull in the movement of temperature-controlled goods before the holidays, DAT said. Load posts fell 17% and truck posts increased 12% compared to the previous week.

Spot prices for flatbed freight remain high for this time of year. The national average flatbed rate increased 1 cent to $2.31 per mile, just 3 cents lower than the peak in October when hurricane-relief supplies were rushing into the Southeast.

Loads for the week in all sectors fell, with van seeing a decline to 7.2 loads per truck from 9.3 the previous week. Refrigerated loads are at 9.8 and flatbed at 27.9. There was 10% decline in loads posted and 12% increase in capacity posted.

In November, the DAT North American Freight Index showed a 39% increase in available truckload freight over November 2016, although overall load volume fell 13% compared to October 2017. DAT attributed this to a seasonal decline. The number of available van loads dipped 5% while refrigerated loads increased 4% compared to October.

“Demand for spot truckload services has been at an all-time high since August, and November continues that trend again, despite seasonal declines,” said Mark Montague, DAT industry analyst. “Increased freight activity, higher fuel prices, and uncertainty surrounding the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate all contribute to this pressure on rates, which are expected to remain elevated through the end of the year and beyond.”

Flatbed loads saw a month-over-month decline in September of 26%, again in line with seasonality. The national average flatbed rate fell 3 cents on the spot market, to $2.30 per mile. 

Did you know?

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s Operation Safe Driver Week, held Oct. 15-21, resulted in citations/warning to CMV drivers with 84.2% of those related to state or local moving violations. Only 7.4% were for speeding.  


“I want to thank FMCSA for granting a waiver for short-term rental trucks. Having an open, honest and productive dialogue the past few months has really helped our membership, and I know our members appreciate the agency’s understanding of the unique challenges this rule presents to rental trucks.”

Jake Jacoby, TRALA president, on FMCSA exemption from the ELD rule for truck rentals lasting less than 30 days

In other news:

Senate bill would require strengthened rear underride guards

Sen. Kirstin Gillibrand has introduced a bill that would require and strengthen rear underride guards beyond current standards and require side guards as well. (Fleet Owner)

PepsiCo reserves 100 Tesla Semis

PepsiCo has announced it has reserved 100 of the Tesla Semi electric trucks, marking the largest known fleet reservation to date. (Reuters)

Truck renters get 90-day reprieve from ELD mandate

The FMCSA has told the Truck Rental and Leasing Association that it will exempt short-term rentals from the ELD mandate for 90 days. (CCJ)

Enforcement week results in nearly twice as many citations

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance handed out over 38,000 citations during Operation Safe Driver Week this year, almost twice the number as in 2016. (Heavy Duty Trucking)

Thor Trucks wants to bring electric mainstream

California startup Thor Trucks is hoping to being testing its electric heavy-duty truck next year with a range of up to 300 miles on a single charge. (

Final Thoughts

Some good news came out of recent Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s Operation Safe Driver Week, held Oct. 15-21. While overall citations nearly doubled over 2016 levels, only 0.8% of those were for using a handheld phone. It seems that general awareness of distracted driving and company policies against using handheld devices may be having a positive effect.

Hammer down everyone!

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Brian Straight

Brian Straight covers general transportation news and leads the editorial team as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler.