Van spot market volume got a big boost at the end of March, when shippers were rushing to move inventory before closing the books on Q1. The markets have adjusted since then, with rates dipping on most of the top van lanes, but demand for trucks has stayed relatively strong in the Sun Belt. In fact, three of the top four markets for load posts this month are in the Southeast.
Below is a look at five markets where you should be able to find a van load fast. Each is in the top 20 for load posts on DAT Load Boards, and each has a load-to-truck ratio that's higher than the national average of 1.6 loads available per truck.
Rates include fuel surcharges and are based on real transactions between carriers and brokers. Rates are available in the DAT Power™ load board and in our standalone freight rates tool, DAT RateView™.
Also Read: The Quickest Way to Receive The Best Loads Fast
HOUSTON: Rates on the Houston to Dallas lane are up from where there were in March, and the roundtrip has averaged $1.93/mile. Demand for trucks is also high in Laredo, near the Mexican border.
CHARLOTTE: Greenville, SC, is the most popular destination for loads coming out of Charlotte, but that's a short haul of 100 miles. Atlanta is another top destination, and while rates from Charlotte to Atlanta are down slightly, prices are up on the return trip.
MEMPHIS is right behind Charlotte in terms of load posts, but the load-to-truck ratio is slightly better for truckers. Rates are up on the lane to Atlanta, and the average rate on the backhaul from Atlanta to Memphis is up 20¢ since March.
LOS ANGELES: Reefer activity has been slowly picking up in California, and that's had a ripple effect on the demand for vans in Los Angeles, which is also trending up.
SHREVEPORT, LA: There are a lot of loads leaving Louisiana right now, and there's a relative lack of trucks. That's boosted prices on the lane from Shreveport to Kansas City, which have risen 15¢ per mile in the past couple weeks. New Orleans is also a hot market, plus it's a popular destination for loads out of Houston.
Over the past month on the DAT Load Boards, 3 of the top 5 markets for van loads were in Texas. Houston was number 2, while Dallas and Laredo were 4 and 5.
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Note: This article was adapted from DAT’s blog post. It was first published in April, 2016.