Fuel Prices Decline, Truckload Rates Don’t

Fuel Prices Decline, Truckload Rates Don’t

The total number of van, refrigerated and flatbed loads edged down 1.5% while available capacity was up 1.9% during the week ending Sept. 27.

Nationally, during the final week of September, average spot truckload rates were stable for all three major equipment types compared to the previous week, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

The national average van rate lost a penny to $2.02 per mile, but remained above $2.00 per mile throughout the month of September. Looking at market demand, van freight availability was generally level (down 0.6%) and truckload capacity increased 3.2%. The resulting load-to-truck ratio was 3.0 as a national average, meaning there were 3.0 van loads posted for every van available on DAT load boards, a 3.6% decline compared to the previous week.

The national average spot rate for refrigerated freight was unchanged at $2.33 per mile. Rates declined in Central California and across the Midwest but gained strength elsewhere due to late-season produce harvests. Reefer freight availability slipped another 1.3% compared to the previous week and capacity added 1.2%, producing a reefer load-to-truck ratio of 8.8.

The national average flatbed rate was unchanged as well at $2.39 per mile. Load availability lost 2.2% and capacity remained stable (down 0.2%), resulting in a 2.4% decline in the load-to-truck ratio. That key indicator is now at 29.3 loads per truck, which is still strong for the season.

The national average fuel price fell two cents to $3.76. Declining fuel prices tend to have a dampening effect on market rates. Diesel fuel is now 17.2 cents less than one year ago. One-time rate agreements typically are quoted as “all-in" so the fuel surcharge is not broken out. When fuel prices slip, the surcharge drops and the total rate may decline accordingly.

 

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