Higher van volumes fail to boost rates

Posted: 01 Apr, 2019 by Mark Montague


Categories: Rate Trend of the Week

Tags: CarrierBrokerOwner-Operator

The end of Q1 was relatively quiet on the truckload spot market. Van freight volumes did increase more than 6% in the last week of March, but there was enough capacity to cover the demand. As a result, rates didn't rise.

The national average van rate was $1.86/mile in March, 3¢ lower than the February average.

Load-to-truck ratios did climb on Friday. But since trucks have been plentiful, it will take a string of days to move rates higher in the van space. On the top 100 van lanes last week, 38 were up, 56 were down, and 6 were neutral.

DAT load boards provide the largest and most trusted digital freight marketplace in the trucking industry, with more than 256 million loads and trucks posted annually, plus insights into current spot market and contract rates based on $60 billion in real transactions.

The national load-to-truck ratio for vans increased to 1.7 loads per truck last week, but the ratio hit 2.3 last Friday, which is a modestly positive measure. Usually rates don't start to climb until the van ratio is in the 2.5 - 3.0 range.  

Load-to-truck ratio bar charts like the one above are available in Hot Market Maps, which is included in the DAT Power load board.

Rising rates

Freight volumes were up more than 10% in Houston last week, with pushed prices up on several lanes. On the other hand, volumes plunged coming out of Denver, so only the higher-priced lanes remained, which boosted rates there.  

Several low-paying lanes showed rate increases last week:

  • Denver to Chicago increased 11¢ to $1.23/mi.
  • Denver to Phoenix gained 10¢ to $1.32/mi. 
  • Dallas to Chicago bumped up 10¢ to $1.26/mi.
  • Seattle to Eugene, OR regained 13¢, rising to $2.51/mi.  


Falling rates

In the East, rates are still falling on many lanes, including:

  • Buffalo to Charlotte fell 15¢ to $2.12/mi. 
  • Allentown to Cleveland dropped 13¢ to $1.65/mi. 
  • Charlotte to Lakeland, FL moved down 13¢ to $2.33/mi.
  • Denver to Oklahoma City slipped 14¢ to $1.12/mi


Find loads, trucks and lane-by-lane rate information in DAT load boards, including rates from DAT RateView.

Leave your comments

  • profile

    Mike Rotsch

    • 4/2/2019 10:25:01 AM

    Mark, What was the National Weekly Dry Van Rate? I don't see it on the website anymore

    Reply 1 comment
  • profile


    • 4/3/2019 8:39:23 AM

    Your map is not accurate, brokers are publishing same load with near by cities , chicago 2 cincinnaty they will put it like : summit, il 2 cincinnati, niles, il 2 cincinnati or chicago 2 florence ky.... This boost your map but generally there is 1 load not 10 (tql, circle8,arrive,cavalry,bnsf) And they are posting same load on every 15 min ... All together 10 loads look like 221.

    Reply 1 comment
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