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Spot rates, volumes stay firm after International Roadcheck



Reefer markets with load-to-truck ratios above 20 to 1 last week included Tallahassee, Florida; Albuquerque, New Mexico, Amarillo, Texas; El Paso, Texas; and Lubbock, Texas. (Courtesy: DAT TRENDLINES)

PORTLAND, Ore. — The number of truck posts on the spot truckload freight market jumped 14% during the week ending June 16, said DAT Solutions, which operates the industry’s largest load board network.

The increase is in line with expectations following CVSA’s International Roadcheck, the annual enforcement initiative, which tends to have a dampening effect on available capacity.

With the number of load posts down 10% last week, load-to-truck ratios declined for all three equipment types.

Still, national average spot rates were above May averages, and van and refrigerated freight volumes were each up nearly 20% compared to the previous week.

National average spot rates through June 16 were:

  • Van: $1.90/mile, 11 cents higher than the May average
  • Reefer: $2.26/mile, 11 cents higher
  • Flatbed: $2.32/mile, 4 cents higher

Van trends

The national average van load-to-truck ratio dipped from 3.8 to 3.0 and rates were lower on 61 of the top 100 van lanes by volume. However, several major van markets including Los Angeles, Dallas, Atlanta, and Chicago were up significantly in terms of available loads.

Demand was strong in the Southeast and West. The average outbound van rate from Memphis, Tennessee, was up 8 cents to $2.33/mile, as was Los Angeles at $2.31/mile. Van lanes with gains included:

  • Memphis to Columbus, Ohio, up 24 cents to $2.23/mile
  • Stockton, California., to Portland, Oregon, up 18 cents to $2.86/mile
  • Los Angeles to Seattle, up 15 cents to $2.72/mile
  • Charlotte to Buffalo, up 15 cents to $2.54/mile

It’s almost always good news when rates rise in both directions on lanes in the same region of the country, as they did on a handful of van lanes that connect Memphis, Charlotte, North Carolina, and Atlanta. Memphis to Charlotte paid $2.16/mile, up 6 cents, and Charlotte to Memphis paid $1.65, up 3 cents, for a roundtrip average of $1.91/mile. That’s up 9 cents compared to the previous week.

Even when rates dropped in one direction, the roundtrips improved over the previous week’s averages. Memphis to Atlanta went for $2.50, up 10 cents, but Atlanta to Memphis paid $1.86/mile, down 3 cents. The roundtrip average was $2.18, up 7 cents compared to the previous week.

Reefer trends

While the national average reefer load-to-truck ratio dropped from 6.4 to 4.5, volumes increased out of both California and Texas, signs that produce season is on. Average outbound reefer rates were higher in Sacramento, California ($2.76/mile), Ontario, California, ($2.80/mile), and Fresno, California ($2.46/mile) — three of the top four California markets (Los Angeles fell 2 cents to $2.93/mile).

Freight volumes were up more than 40% out of Nogales, Arizona, on the Mexico border. The largest reefer lane-rate increase was Nogales to Dallas, up 49 cents to $3.36/mile.

DAT Trendlines is a weekly snapshot of month-to-date national average rates from DAT RateView, which provides real-time reports on spot market and contract rates, as well as historical rate and capacity trends. The RateView database is comprised of more than $60 billion in freight payments. DAT load boards average 1.2 million load posts searched per business day.

For the latest spot market loads and rate information, visit and follow @LoadBoards on Twitter.


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FTR Trucking Conditions Index for July improved to reading above neutral



FTR said although some positive trucking conditions index readings are possible over the next year, the outlook is for primarily negative to neutral readings throughout the time frame. (The Trucker file photo)

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index for July improved slightly to a just above neutral reading of 0.28.  Lower diesel prices offset the effects of lower capacity utilization pushing the reading into positive territory for the first time since January. Although some positive readings are possible over the next year, the outlook is for primarily negative to neutral readings throughout the time frame.

Details of the TCI for July are found in the September t issue of FTR’s Trucking Update, published August 30. The “Notes by the Dashboard Light” section issues readers a warning about the possibility for slower growth ahead.

Along with the TCI and “Notes by the Dashboard Light,” the Trucking Update includes data and analysis on load volumes, the capacity environment, rates, costs, and the truck driver situation.

“Although it has become common to hear dire warnings about the state of the trucking industry, the truck freight market as a whole is hardly collapsing,” said Avery Vise, vice president of trucking. “Rapid cooling from last year’s extraordinarily strong market certainly has left many weak carriers exposed, but freight volume and rates are holding up reasonably well – certainly if viewed in a longer-term context. Still, most of the near-term risks to our outlook are on the downside.”

The TCI tracks the changes representing five major conditions in the U.S. truck market, including freight volumes, freight rates, fleet capacity, fuel price and financing.

The individual metrics are combined into a single index indicating the industry’s overall health. A positive score represents good, optimistic conditions. Conversely, a negative score represents bad, pessimistic conditions. Readings near zero are consistent with a neutral operating environment, and double-digit readings (up or down) suggest significant operating changes are likely.

In addition to the monthly updates on trucking conditions, FTR offers a weekly Trucking Market Update in the State of Freight Podcast.

The weekly update, hosted by Avery Vise, covers spot market and economic indicators and major industry developments. To listen to recent episodes and download the indicators that are covered, go to

To learn more about FTR visit or call 888-988-1699 or email  or email









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Average on-highway gallon of diesel up 1.6 cents, but crude oil up 12.97%



The average price of a gallon of on-highway diesel for the week ending September 16 was 28.1 cents lower than the comparable week in 2018. (The Trucker file photo)

WASHINGTON — The average on-highway price of a gallon of diesel rose 1.6 cents a gallon to $2.987 for the week ending September 16, according to the Energy Information Administration of the Department of Energy.

It was the first weekly increase since the week ending July 8 when the price went up 1.3 cents a gallon to $3.055.

What, if any, impact did the attack on the Saudi oil facility have on the price this week is hard to determine since the attack occurred only early last Saturday.

“Our team is keeping a close eye on the impact of the Saudi oil fire on the diesel market,” said a spokesperson for Pilot Flying J. “We have already seen the market react, but it’s too early to predict the extent of the impact. Our No. 1 priority remains getting our guests from point A to point B as quickly and conveniently as possible.”

The price of West Texas Intermediate crude rose 12.97% to $61.93 Monday.

All regions of the country increased with the exception of the Central Atlantic States (New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey) where the price dropped nine tenths of a penny to $3.013.

The largest increase was in the West Coast minus California at 3 cents top $3.161. The next largest increase was 2.6 cents in the overall West Coast region (California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon and Washington) and the Rocky Mountain states (Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana.

The price for the week ending September 16 was 28.1 cents lower than the comparable week in 2018.

For a complete list of prices by region for the past three weeks, click here.


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DOT’s freight transportation index rises to new all-time high in July



The Freight TSI measures the month-to-month changes in for-hire freight shipments by mode of transportation in tons and ton-miles, which are combined into one index. (The Trucker file photo)

WASHINGTON — The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI), which is based on the amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry, rose 0.9% in July from June, rising to a new all-time high after declining for two consecutive months, the Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS) said Thursday.

From July 2018 to July 2019, the index rose 2.9% compared to a rise of 6.0% from July 2017 to July 2018.

The Freight TSI measures the month-to-month changes in for-hire freight shipments by mode of transportation in tons and ton-miles, which are combined into one index. The index measures the output of the for-hire freight transportation industry and consists of data from for-hire trucking, rail, inland waterways, pipelines and air freight. The TSI is seasonally-adjusted to remove regular seasons from month-to-month comparisons.

The BTS said the Uly increase was broad based with increases in rail carloads, rail intermodal, trucking, pipeline and air freight. There was a small decline in water transportation.

The TSI increase took place against a background of mixed results for other indicators.

The Federal Reserve Board Industrial Production Index declined in July, reflecting decreases in mining and manufacturing and an increase in utilities. Personal income increased by 0.1%, while housing starts declined by 4.0%. The Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing index decreased 0.5 points to 51.2, indicating continued but slowing growth.

The BTS said despite small decreases in both May (-0.1%) and June (-0.3%), the July index was 0.6% over its April level and 0.2% over its previous record high in November 2018.

The record high level was reached even though the index increased in only four of the eight months since November. From a low point in March 2016, the index climbed 12.8% until reaching a new high in May 2018. From that point, the index has exceeded its levels in all months prior to May 2018. The July 2019 index was 46.6% above the April 2009 low during the most recent recession.

For-hire freight shipments in July 2019 (139.0) were 46.6% higher than the low in April 2009 during the recession (94.8). The July 2019 level reached its all-time high.

For-hire freight shipments measured by the index were up 2.1% in July compared to the end of 2018.

For-hire freight shipments are up 15.4% in the five years from July 2014 and are up 41.4% in the 10 years from July 2009.



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