Weekly Report 12 – 03/23/2022

Van segments continue to see weak spot rates

Total spot rates in the system continued to rise during the week ended March 18 (week 11), but as has been the case during most of 2022, the flatbed segment accounted for the market’s strength. Even as carriers are paying the highest diesel prices ever, dry van rates were essentially flat, and refrigerated rates decreased. Meanwhile, total load availability declined 4.1%, which is the largest decrease in six weeks. Volume was lower in all segments for the first time this year.


Total Spot Loads

Total load postings were 0.8% below the same 2021 week for only the second negative year-over-year comparison since July 2020. Volume likely will be down year over year for most of the spring at least. Load postings were about 91% above the five-year average for the week. The strongest volume gain was on the West Coast. The Midwest, Northeast, and Mountain Central regions saw percentage drops in the double digits. Truck postings fell 7.4%, and the Market Demand Index – the ratio of loads to trucks in the system – increased slightly. However, flatbed was solely responsible for the increase.

Dry Van Spot Rates

Dry van spot rates were basically flat, ticking up just a tenth of a cent. However, excluding fuel, dry van rates fell by about 15 cents. Rates were about 7% higher than the same 2021 week, but rates excluding fuel were down nearly 14%. Dry van load postings declined 4.7% after falling 10.1% in the prior week. Dry van volume was 0.5% above the level posted in the same 2021 week and nearly 71% above the five-year average for the week.

Refrigerated Spot Rates

Refrigerated spot rates declined 2.8 cents, but rates excluding fuel dropped nearly 18 cents. Rates were about 5% higher than the same week last year, but rates excluding fuel were down about 13%. Refrigerated load postings fell 8% after decreasing 5.9% in the previous week. Refrigerated volume was 0.4% above the same 2021 week and about 75% above the five-year average.

Flatbed Spot Rates

Flatbed spot rates rose 5.8 cents a mile, but rates excluding fuel fell about 9 cents. Rates were nearly 19% higher than the same week last year but only 1% higher excluding fuel. Flatbed load postings declined 3% for only the second decrease this year. Volume was 0.4% below the same week last year for the first negative year-over-comparison since late June 2020. Flatbed load postings are still running more than double the five-year average, however.

Total Spot Rates

Total spot rates increased 3.3 cents per mile, but we estimate that excluding the impact of fuel, rates would have fallen nearly 12 cents. The national average price of diesel skyrocketed $1.15 per gallon over the two weeks ended March 14. Total spot rates were about 15% higher than the same 2021 week, but excluding fuel, rates were down 3.6% year over year. Rates excluding fuel had not been negative year over year since June 2020.



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