BEAVERTON, Ore. — Truckload freight volumes increased in August as shippers positioned freight ahead of the fourth quarter, according to a mid-September news release from DAT Freight & Analytics, operators of the DAT One freight marketplace and DAT iQ data analytics service.
Buoyed by shipments of retail goods and fresh food, the DAT Truckload Volume Index (TVI) increased for van, reefer and flatbed freight compared to July. TVI for van was 241, up 8% from July but down 8% year over year, while reefer was 175 — up 4% from July and down 5% year over year. Flatbed TVI was 259, up 9% from July and down only 0.4% year over year.
DAT’s national average van and reefer load-to-truck ratios rose in August, reflecting higher demand for these services. The van ratio was 2.8, up from 2.6 in July, meaning there were 2.8 loads for every truck on the DAT One marketplace. The reefer ratio was 4.4, up from 3.8 in July, and flatbed was 6.0, down from 7.1.
DAT’s report shows that spot rates rose; however, fuel costs bit into line-haul pricing. Broker-to-carrier benchmark spot rates strengthened as carriers negotiated to cover rising fuel expenses. The DAT benchmark spot van rate was $2.09 per mile in August, up 2 cents compared to July, while the reefer rate gained 7 cents to $2.51 per mile. The flatbed rate slipped 3 cents to $2.54 a mile.
Line-haul rates, which subtract an amount equal to a fuel surcharge, tumbled compared to July. Line-haul rates dropped 6 cents to $1.57 per mile, and reefer rates were $1.94 per mile, a 2-cent decrease. Flatbed saw the largest drop of 12 cents, down to $1.89.
DAT benchmark rates for contracted van freight have not increased month over month since May 2022 and stood at $2.57 per mile. Reefer rates were up 8 cents to $2.99 per mile, while flatbed dropped 10 cents to $3.19 per mile.
“At 48 cents, the gap between our benchmark spot and contract van rates was the least it’s been since April 2022,” said Ken Adamo, chief of analytics for DAT. “We expect the pricing difference to narrow further, with contract rates falling over the next 12 months and spot rates increasing. In the near term, the fourth quarter will be a busy time for freight. It’s important to come into the months ahead armed with pricing data and strategies you trust.”
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