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Rate Pressure Easing on Spot Market as Truckload Demand Declines

Spot truckload demand and capacity moved downward during the week ending July 26, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

The national average van rate fell 3 cents (1.4 percent) to $2.07 per mile (including fuel surcharge), historically strong despite a typical late-summer decline. Van load availability fell 5.4 percent while capacity increased 3.5 percent for the week. The national van load-to-truck ratio dropped 8.6 percent to 2.7, meaning there were 2.7 loads posted for every truck available on DAT load boards.

The national average rate for refrigerated loads dropped 4 cents (1.7 percent) to $2.36 per mile, continuing a seasonal slide. The number of posted loads edged down 1.7 percent as truckload capacity increased just 1.3 percent compared to the previous week. The resulting refrigerated load-to-truck ratio fell 2.9 percent from 8.1 to 7.9 loads per truck, a moderate level for the last full week of July.

Flatbed equipment continues to be in demand and rates remain strong, although the national average rate for flatbeds lost 3 cents (1.2 percent) to $2.44 per mile. Flatbed load availability dipped 3.2 percent last week while truckload capacity added 7.8 percent, producing a flatbed load-to-truck ratio of 31.9. Thatís off 10 percent compared to the previous week but still a favorable ratio for carriers.

The national average fuel price was $3.86 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.

DAT Trendlines is a weekly report on spot market freight availability, truck capacity, and rates.

Source: DAT Solutions

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