Shipping and Logistics

July Ends with Higher Freight Volumes

Written by Sandy Williams

Truck freight volume rose 7.5 percent in the last week of July according to DAT Trends. Load to truck ratios increased across all three truck categories while the average spot market rates remained stable.

Flat bed truck demand increased by 6 percent while capacity declined 7.1 percent. The load to truck ratio for the week of July 27 through August 2 rose 14 percent, from 31.9 to 36.4 loads per truck.

The national average flatbed rate was down 3 cents from the beginning of the month but unchanged from $2.44 per mile the previous week. Four of the five regions posted averages above that rate except for California with an average of $2.20 for the week. The highest average flatbed rates was in the Northeast at $3.41 per mile

For the month of July flatbed load volume declined by 11 percent and capacity increased 14 percent. The resulting load to truck ratio fell 22 percent for the month. Compared to July of 2013 the flatbed ratio was 88 percent higher.

The national average flatbed rate for the month of July remained unchanged from June but was up 25 cents per mile from July 2013. A penny increase in the line haul rates offset a lower surcharge in fuel. Fuel prices declined 0.6 percent during July

DAT Trend analyst Mark Montague noted rates are drifting downward which is typical in July. However, Improving economic conditions, higher imports, and growth in manufacturing is likely to fuel increased freight demand and higher rates in mid-August through September. With consumer confidence at its highest level since October 2007, Montague expects retailers to expand inventories in preparation for a busy holiday season, impacting truckload volumes in the coming weeks.

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