The average non-contract, or "spot," market rate for a dry van shipment hit $2.09 last week, the highest level since December 2014, according to data released today by load board operator DAT Solutions. Spot rates for refrigerated and flatbed services also hit multi-year highs, DAT said.
Relief and rebuilding efforts in areas affected by hurricanes Harvey and Irma have squeezed capacity nationwide, DAT said. Freight brokers and motor carriers have diverted capacity to the impacted areas, attracted by high-priced government rates to deliver emergency relief supplies to the regions. Relief freight is priced high in part to compensate drivers and fleets who are delivering to hard hit areas for a dearth of outbound freight once they drop off their supplies. In addition, drivers hauling relief supplies into impacted areas may end up waiting hours, sometimes days, just to unload their shipments due to shipment backlogs.
Strong harvest cycles in northern states and California are putting further pressure on capacity, as there are fewer trucks in those areas to handle those loads, DAT said. The company's load-to-truck ratio, which measures the number of available loads per truck, remain elevated for all three trailer types, reflecting more demand than supply, DAT said.
Dry van is the most commonly utilized trailer type.