Elevated spot rates remain high ahead of July 4

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Trucking news and briefs for Friday, June 25, 2021:

Spot truckload activity flat ahead of July 4
Spot truckload freight volumes fell 1.4% during the week ending June 20 as shippers work to loosen backlogged dry van, refrigerated and flatbed cargo, said DAT Freight & Analytics, which operates the industry’s largest network of load boards and the DAT iQ data analytics service. Capacity tightened as the total number of trucks posted to the DAT network declined 6.3% compared to the previous week.

National average spot truckload rates showed little movement up or down, however. Already elevated, spot pricing does not appear to be ramping up seasonally ahead of the July 4 holiday and back-to-school retail shopping.

Spot truckload rates across the country are holding at a high level ahead of the July 4 holiday.Spot truckload rates across the country are holding at a high level ahead of the July 4 holiday.

Some trends to watch include:

  • Van load moves shift lower: In DAT’s top 100 van freight markets by volume, the number of loads moved fell 3.7% week over week and has been relatively stable since April except for an expected decline during Memorial Day week. Nationally, the van load-to-truck ratio increased from 4.5 to 5.2 as spot capacity stayed tight last week.
  • California van markets rise: Van freight is abundant in southern California as shippers work to loosen logistical obstacles. Los Angeles to Phoenix, a key lane for imported retail goods, averaged $4.52 a mile last week including a fuel surcharge, 13 cents higher than the week prior. At that rate, many carriers are quickly making their turn in Phoenix and coming back empty to Los Angeles, Ontario and other markets in California.
  • Flatbed load posts decline: Flatbed load post volume fell 10% compared to the previous week and is down 20% compared to May levels. The national average flatbed load-to-truck ratio dropped from 73.4 to 65.5 last week with very little change in the availability of equipment. The number of loads moved on DAT’s top 78 flatbed markets is down 5.9% since the last full week of May.
  • Reefers surge: Reefer freight volume on the DAT network was up 14% week over week as harvest activity increases and consumers stock up for summer. The national average reefer load-to-truck ratio increased from 9.2 to 11.3 although rates on high-volume lanes appeared to plateau.

Spot reefer demand is highly affected by produce distribution. The reefer lane from Atlanta to Miami averaged $3.67 a mile last week, up almost 30 cents over the last four weeks. This coincides with the end of produce season in southern Florida, when outbound rates and freight availability plummet. At the same time, California is now home to the country’s hottest reefer lanes including Ontario to Stockton ($4.26 per mile); Los Angeles to Stockton ($4.28); Fresno to Chicago ($3.51); and Los Angeles to Phoenix ($4.87). Spot freight volumes from these markets are beginning to shift lower, however.

New consulting firm offering safety training, mock audits, more
Trucksafe Consulting is launching compliance and training services dedicated to helping trucking companies of all sizes navigate complex regulations, highway safety issues and more.

Offering personalized, focused safety and compliance consulting, as well as a comprehensive library of on-demand educational and training videos via its Trucksafe Academy, Trucksafe’s partnership-based approach is meant to give fleets of all sizes, from single-truck owner-operators to enterprise carriers, a modern solution to ensure safety of their drivers and fleet — and to avoid expensive and unnecessary DOT audits and citations.

“There’s been a gap in DOT training for too long, when it comes to comprehensive regulatory training — as opposed to defensive driving or workforce safety — for safety managers and drivers,” said Brandon Wiseman, founder and president of Trucksafe Consulting. “We’re not out to be another large, faceless consulting corporation. We want to meet carriers where they are and provide them with a tailored and modern solution that works best for their fleet and their personnel to keep them compliant and out of the crosshairs of the DOT and plaintiffs’ bar.”

Trucksafe’s mission is to help motor carriers earn and maintain Satisfactory safety ratings, improve CSA scores and SMS rankings, and bolster fleets’ ability to manage and train drivers, dispatchers, and safety managers. By achieving those goals, trucking companies can ensure a good working relationship with shipper and broker customers, avoid being targeted for DOT audits, reduce driver turnover, reduce the likelihood of facing “nuclear” court verdicts, and keep climbing insurance costs in check.

In addition to working with fleets to develop realistic and customized safety plans, Trucksafe performs various levels of mock audits to reveal weak spots before the DOT does, aids in reversing erroneous records via DataQs appeals, offers a full catalog of downloadable DOT compliance forms, and educates fleets through its library of both free and paid on-demand videos. These services guide fleets toward building a robust safety program and establishing a fleet-wide culture of safety.

Fidelis Freight rebrands to Drive Logistics
Fidelis Freight has officially announced the company's rebranding to Drive Logistics, which offers comprehensive and strategic business solutions, along with personalized 24-hour support, broker negotiations, back-office support, IT services, telehealth benefits and success incentive programs to all the truckers and owner-operators it serves.

In 2016, Michael O'Leary began building the company, which focused on the people behind the wheel. As Drive Logistics rolls out new and innovative changes, it has a renewed focus on giving power back to the trucker.

With Drive Logistics and the myDrive mobile app, truckers can negotiate fair freight pricing with confidence and instantaneously communicate with their dedicated Capacity Consultants with the touch of a button.

"Drive Logistics provides a service that gives our truckers the best pathway to success â€” a way to make their dreams a reality while focusing on moving freight at premium rates," O'Leary said.

Averitt named Top Green Provider
Averitt Express (CCJ Top 250, No. 28) has been named to the 2021 Top Green Providers by industry trade publication Food Logistics.

The Top Green Providers list recognizes companies that offer products or services that illustrate exemplary environmental stewardship in promoting sustainability.

By investing in the industry’s most modern trucks and trailers, in conjunction with optimizing its fleet routing, Averitt has made several measurable achievements that provide a positive impact for its customers, including: 

  • 38% reduction carbon dioxide emissions 
  • 88% reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions 
  • 6.2 million gallons of diesel fuel saved 

In addition to being recognized as a Top Green Provider, Averitt was recently honored by the Tennessee Trucking Association with the 2020 Clean Diesel Award.