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July Finishes with Shrinking Capacity, Jump in Truckload Volume

Spot truckload load volume rose sharply and capacity tightened during the week ending August 2, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

The overall number of loads posted increased 7.5 percent compared to the previous week while the number of available trucks decreased 7.4 percent. Rates were relatively stable as a national average, masking big changes in individual markets and lanes.

The national average van rate fell 1 cent (0.5 percent) to $2.06 per mile (including fuel surcharge) on the spot market. Load availability rose 6.9 percent while posted capacity declined 7.7 percent for the week. The national van load-to-truck ratio jumped 16 percent to 3.1, meaning there were 3.1 loads posted for every truck available on DAT load boards.

For the month, the van load-to-truck ratio averaged 3.2, a 26 percent drop compared to June but 23 percent above the level of July 2013.

The national average reefer rate dipped 1 cent (0.4 percent) to $2.35 per mile, a strong rate historically. The number of posted refrigerated loads increased 7.9 percent and capacity decreased 5.2 percent compared to the previous week. The resulting refrigerated load-to-truck ratio was up 14 percent to 8.9 loads per truck.

For the month, the average reefer load-to-truck ratio declined 21 percent to 9.1 from a seasonal high of 11.5 in June. Year-over-year, the load-to-truck ratio was 15 percent higher compared to July 2013.

Flatbed rates were unchanged as a national average at $2.44 per mile. Load availability increased 6.0 percent while capacity declined 7.1 percent. The resulting load-to-truck ratio rose 14 percent compared to the previous week, from 31.9 to 36.4 loads per truck.

For the month, flatbed load volume declined 11 percent compared to June and capacity increased 14 percent, pushing the load-to-truck ratio down 22 percent. Compared to July 2013, however, there were 52 percent more flatbed loads and 19 percent fewer trucks posted, resulting in an 88 percent increase in the flatbed load-to-truck ratio year-over-year.

The national average fuel price was $3.85 a gallon, down 1 cent from the previous week.

Load-to-truck ratios represent the number of loads posted for every truck posted on DAT load boards. The load-to-truck ratio is a sensitive, real-time indicator of the balance between spot market demand and capacity. Changes in the ratio often signal impending changes in rates. Rates are derived from DAT RateView.

Source: DAT Solutions

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