Today’s Pickup: Seasonality hits rates as van, flatbed retreat from highs

National flatbed spot rates fell 2 cents last week to an average of $2.40 per mile, according to DAT. ( Photo: Shutterstock )

Good day,

At least for one week, seasonality has impacted rates, according to the latest data from DAT Solutions. Spot rates for dry vans and flatbeds fell for the week ending Jan. 20.

The national average spot rate for vans dropped 1 cent to $2.27 per mile as van loads fell 5% and trucks posted increased 4%. DAT noted that rates fell on most of the top 100 van lanes, although a few markets saw increase. Notable increase include Dallas, up 2 cents to $2.05 per mile; Philadelphia, up 11 cents to $2.43 per mile; Chicago, up 5 cents to $3.05 per mile; and Memphis, which was up 6 cents to $2.61 per mile.

Los Angeles dropped 14 cents last week to $2.53 per mile, which followed a 16-cent drop the previous week.

In the flatbed market, loads posted climbed 3% and trucks posted were up 2.5%, but the national rate fell 2 cents to $2.40 per mile. Harrisburg, PA, saw an 18-cent increase to $3.76 per mile. Las Vegas climbed 7 cents to $2.89 and Houston was up 8 cents to $2.65.

Like the dry van market, Los Angeles’ flatbed rates fell 14 cents to $2.53 per mile. Flatbed rates were also softer in the Midwest, including outbound from Rock Island, IL, which fell 16 cents to $3.03 per mile and Cleveland, which dropped 10 cents to $2.64 per mile.

The national average reefer rate was unchanged at $2.70 per mile as load posts fell 10% and truck posts increased 7%. Capacity was in demand in Northeast hubs, DAT said, including Philadelphia where rates rose 16 cents to $3.46 per miler and Elizabeth, NJ, which was up 10 cents to $2.35.

Reefer load counts and rates fell off sharply from Nogales, Arizona, as domestic produce begins to displace imports from the U.S.-Mexico border.

Did you know?

Chinese investors acquired more than $773 million in industrial real estate in the U.S. during 2017,   according to a report from CBRE.


“The trucking industry is putting our money where our foot is. Trucking already pays half the nation’s highway funding tab, and we are ready to pay more. Through the Build America Fund, the trucking industry would invest upwards of an additional $112 billion into our nation’s roads and bridges over the next decade. Solving a challenge of this size requires big and bold solutions, and we call on Washington to step up with us.” 

Chris Spear, ATA president, again calling on Washington to fund a designated infrastructure fund through fuel taxes

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Final Thoughts

Spot rates took a small retreat last week as seasonality creeped in, according to DAT, with both national dry van and flatbed rates falling and reefer rates holding steady. While still high, it could be the first sign that some level of normalcy is returning to the rate market after the disruptions caused by weather last year and the ELD mandate in December.

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.

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