As the West Coast feels ripple effects from the bankruptcy of Hanjin Shipping Co., nationally the number of loads fell 5 percent during the week ending Sept. 24 while capacity was up 3 percent, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.
There is generally an increase in volume and rates in September on the West Coast since this is when Asian imports arrive and must be moved to retail distribution centers in time for the holidays. Retailers are already beginning to shift their inventories around — mostly eastward — in order to prevent stock-outs while they wait for inventory replenishment to arrive, belatedly, at West Coast ports.
Meanwhile, some are scrambling to make new arrangements for the goods that are stuck on Hanjin container ships that are now returning to Asia.
These conditions helped send average van and refrigerated load-to-truck ratios down 10 percent last week: vans to 2.8 and reefers to 5.5. The flatbed load-to-truck ratio was 13.2, unchanged from the previous week.
The ratios are back on par with August levels, but spot truckload rates didn’t move much. Vans were unchanged at $1.64 per mile; reefers were also unchanged at $1.91 per mile; and flatbeds were down one cent for an average of $1.88 per mile.
Los Angeles jumped to the No. 2 spot for the market with the most available outbound loads (behind Chicago). Spot van freight volume and rates surged there last week ($2.01/mile, up 2 cents). Los Angeles-Phoenix, up 4 cents to $2.61/mile, was the highest outbound rate, but rates on eastbound, long-haul lanes market made greater gains compared to the previous week.
Several van lanes showed strength last week while two Los Angeles-inbound lanes created opportunities for carriers looking to position trucks in that market:
- Columbus-Buffalo, $2.75/mile, up 6 cents
- Atlanta-Lakeland, Fla., $2.37/mile, unchanged
- Philadelphia-Boston, $3.15/mile, down 3 cents
- Chicago-Los Angeles, $1.29/mile, up 9 cents
- Dallas-Los Angeles, $1.08/mile, up 2 cents.
Spot reefer prices were higher in the Los Angeles market, where the average outbound rate was up a penny to $2.36/mile. The highest-paying reefer lane in the West was Ontario, Calif.-Phoenix, up 2 cents to $2.90/mile.
Twin Falls, Idaho, held onto the top spot last week for available reefer loads, due in part to strong potato harvests. The average Twin Falls-Chicago rate was up 24 cents to $1.89/mile. Midwest reefer rates were mostly down, but Green Bay-Minneapolis paid 20 cents better last week at $2.10/mile.
Rates are derived from DAT RateView, which provides real-time reports on prevailing spot market and contract rates, as well as historical rate and capacity trends. All reported rates include fuel surcharges. To get the latest rate trends, visit DAT.com/Trendlines.