Christmas came and went, but rates continued to climb in the last week of the year. Retail distribution centers continued to drive freight, and shippers were scrambling to move loads before they closed the books on 2016.
Darker-colored states have higher load-to-truck ratios, meaning that there's less competition for van loads in those states.
Truck capacity was also tighter last week, with drivers taking extra time off for the holiday weekend. That, coupled with the urgency from shippers to get loads moved before year's end, pushed prices up in most of the major van markets.
All rates below include fuel surcharges and are based on real transactions between brokers and carriers.
Allentown, PA, was the big surprise. Post-Christmas volumes actually exceeded the pre-Christmas load count, and outbound rates rose ▲4%
- Rates on the lane from Allentown to Richmond surged ▲32¢ to $2.50/mile. It’s rare to see a rate that high going southbound from Allentown
Columbus was another post-Christmas surprise
- Columbus to Buffalo paid ▲26¢ better at $3.01/mile, compared to Christmas week.
- Columbus to Atlanta rose ▲21¢ to $2.20/mil
Higher rates out of Atlanta and Philly, along with Columbus, were signs of strong retail trade.
It was good to see California pick back up. The lane from Los Angeles to Denver paid ▲23¢ better on average at $2.53/mile
The news wasn’t positive everywhere. Outbound rates tumbled in Buffalo and Denver.
- Out of Buffalo, the lane to Allentown dropped ▼28¢ to $2.86/mile, which is still a good rate
- Backhaul lanes were down in general: The lane from Denver to Los Angeles fell ▼21¢ to $1.10/mile. Improvements out of Los Angeles kept the roundtrip rate up, though
- Ditto for the Portland to Stockton lane, which lost another ▼20¢ for an average of $1.32/mile
- Cold weather might’ve played a role on the lane from Minneapolis to Chicago, which was down ▼18¢ to $1.84/mile
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