Weekly Report 44 – 11/02/2021

Spot rates rise by the most in eight weeks as volume rises

Total spot rates in the system rose 5 cents a mile during the week ended October 29 (week 43) for the largest gain since the week before Labor Day. Rates have risen week over week only once before during that period. Rates were higher in all segments. Total load postings moved up 1.8% – noticeably stronger than seasonal expectations. Gains in dry van offset a slight decline in refrigerated volume and weak growth in flatbed. Total volume is about 28% higher than the same 2020 week.


Total Market demand index

Truck capacity in the system has been volatile in the past couple of weeks, but truck postings in the latest week were down about 5% from two weeks earlier. The Market Demand Index – the ratio of loads to trucks in the system – recovered to just slightly below its level three weeks ago. The MDI was higher in all segments week over week.

Dry Van Spot Loads

Dry van load postings increased 3.7% after a 2.0% gain in the prior week. On average, dry van volume is just a bit stronger than flat in week 43, so the segment is still outpacing seasonal expectations as ongoing supply chain disruptions are keeping volume higher than normal. Load postings were about 33% higher than the same week last year and more than triple the five-year average.

Refrigerated Spot Loads

Refrigerated volume eased 0.7%, a slightly greater decline than the 0.2% dip in the previous week. The five-year average change for week 43 is a 3.5% increase, so refrigerated failed to at least match seasonal expectations for the first time in nearly two months. Refrigerated load postings were 50% higher than the same 2020 week and more than triple the five-year average.

Flatbed Spot Loads

Flatbed load postings edged up 0.6% after the prior week’s 2.8% decrease. On average, flatbed volume declines about 4% during week 43, so the segment outpaced seasonal expectations. Volume was about 21% higher than the same week last year and about 183% higher than the five-year average.

Total Spot Rates

Spot rates including fuel recovered most of the loss in the prior week. Rates were 21% higher than the same week last year, but one major reason for that strong comparison is diesel prices, which are more than $1.30 a gallon higher than they were last year. Excluding fuel surcharges, rates were about 13% higher year over year. Dry van rates including fuel were up more than 8 cents and were nearly 19% higher than the same 2020 week. Refrigerated rates were up nearly 2 cents and were about 24% higher year over year. Flatbed rates rose more than 4 cents and were about 24% higher year over year as well. Excluding fuel, dry van, refrigerated, and flatbed were up about 10%, 17%, and 13%, respectively, from the same 2020 week.

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