Normally there’s a lull after the end of Q1 after shippers have rushed to push freight out the door before month's end. The drop in demand typically leads to lower rates in early April, but that wasn't the case for the week ending April 7. National average spot rates jumped as well, compared to the March averages.

  • Van: $2.24/mile, up 9¢ from March
  • Flatbed: $2.63/mile, up 10¢
  • Reefer: $2.48/mile, an 8¢ gain

The number of trucks posted fell 2.7% last week. It’s hard to say exactly what caused capacity to tighten, but April 1 marked another ELD deadline. This time it was the end of "soft enforcement" for infractions, meaning that trucks can now be placed out of service for not having an ELD installed. 


Volumes for dry van freight were mostly flat last week compared to the previous week. Load counts rose, though, out of major Northeast markets like Allentown, PA; Philadelphia, and Buffalo, NY. Capacity was otherwise tight across much of the country. That contributed to higher rates on 52 of the Top 100 van lanes.

All rates below include fuel surcharges and are based on real transactions between brokers and carriers. 

Hot Markets

Rates from Los Angeles and Stockton, CA, were up 2.6% and 2.5% respectively, with stronger shipper demand out of Stockton. Columbus, Ohio, was up 3.1%, and even Denver had a solid 2.5% increase in outbound rates. Houston was up 1.8% but has gained more than 9% over the past four weeks.

Regional van lanes to watch:

  • Allentown to Boston, up 4¢ to $4.09/mile
  • Columbus to Chicago, up 19¢ to $2.40/mile
  • Houston to Dallas, up 15¢ to $2.70/mile

Not So Hot

Rates edged down out of Chicago on lower volumes, but the decline was just 1.3%.

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Matt Sullivan

Matt Sullivan is the editor of DAT Carrier News. He has more than 10 years of journalism experience.

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