Weekly Report 14 – 04/05/2022
Van segments’ rates fall while volume firms a bit
Flatbed spot rates in the system set another record during the week ended April 1 (week 13), but dry van and refrigerated rates fell. All segments saw lower rates excluding the estimated impact of fuel. Dry van rates had stabilized in the two prior weeks but continued the downward trend since hitting a record at the end of 2021. Refrigerated rates fell for the 12th week out of the 13 weeks since hitting a record. Load postings were basically flat after three weeks of decreases.
Total Spot Loads
Total load postings ticked up 0.3%. Volume was about 8% below the same 2021 week but about 89% above the five-year average for the week. Barring an extraordinary surge, spot volume appears certain to be lower than comparable 2021 levels at least through mid-May. Loads were up significantly in the South Central and Southeast regions but down significantly on the West Coast and in the Northeast. Truck postings increased 6.5%, and the Market Demand Index – the ratio of loads to trucks in the system – fell to its lowest level since mid-December. The MDI moved slightly higher in refrigerated and flatbed, but the dry van MDI fell to its lowest level since January of last year.
Dry Van Spot Rates
Dry van spot rates fell about 4 cents after squeezing out small gains in the two prior weeks. However, we estimate that excluding the impact of fuel costs rates are down nearly 16 cents. Rates have fallen about 36 cents from the record level at the end of 2021. Dry van rates were about 4% higher than the same 2021 week, but rates excluding fuel were down nearly 27%. After falling for six straight weeks, dry van load postings increased by 2.3%. Dry van volume was nearly 7% below the level posted in the same 2021 week but nearly 73% above the five-year average for the week.
Refrigerated Spot Rates
Refrigerated spot rates declined nearly 6 cents, but rates excluding the estimated fuel impact fell 17 cents. Rates have plunged nearly 99 cents from the record level at the end of 2021 and have slipped below $3 for the first time since May of last year. Refrigerated rates were 0.2% below the same 2021 week; rates had not been negative year over year since June 2020. Excluding fuel, spot rates were down about 27%. Refrigerated load postings were basically flat, declining just 0.1%. Refrigerated volume was nearly 8% below the same 2021 week and about 83% above the five-year average.
Flatbed Spot Rates
Flatbed spot rates rose about 6 cents to a second straight record level. However, rates are not keeping pace with fuel costs as our estimates that rates excluding the impact of fuel were down about 5 cents. Flatbed rates have increased in all but one week this year, but excluding fuel, rates have been down in six weeks, including the last four. Rates were 19% higher than the same week last year but 7% below the same 2021 week excluding fuel. Flatbed load postings declined 0.7%. Volume was nearly 9% below the same week last year but still, nearly double the five-year average for the week.
Total Spot Rates
Total spot rates increased nearly 3 cents per mile, but our estimates that excluding the impact of fuel, rates would have fallen nearly 9 cents. Total spot rates were nearly 14% higher than the same 2021 week, but excluding fuel, rates were down about 13% year over year. Rates excluding fuel had not seen a year-over-year comparison so negative since the early weeks of recovery in May 2020.