I hate to be a downer, but van rates fell lower pretty much everywhere last week. Rates could still rebound, though, because shippers like to move freight before the end of the year, and close their books on a high note.
For truckers who want to work during the week after Christmas, there should be plenty of loads available. Schools are out, and lots of folks prefer to enjoy a family vacation -- so there's less competition for those end-of-year loads.
The darker areas in the Hot States Map above show where there's less competition for van loads.
The Midwest is heating up again for van freight. More loads moved out of Chicago, and Columbus had fewer loads than the previous week, but rates were up on the biggest lanes out of both markets. That was a welcome change. Los Angeles also moved more loads, but rates declined. Volume improvements in Memphis yielded a mixed result on rates. Memphis to Dallas lost 6¢/mile, and the lane to Chicago fell 3¢, but Memphis to Atlanta gained 9¢/mile.
Denver and Seattle lost a lot of momentum last week, after a two- or three-week surge, and the average outbound rate dropped about 10¢/mile for both markets. That's still higher than November, but not great. You'll want to make your money on the way in, which is pretty much the norm for those two markets, anyway.
Chicago - Columbus - Grand Rapids - Chicago
Chicago’s outbound rates have rebounded in the past two weeks, and the high-traffic lane to Columbus is paying more than it has all year, at an average of $2.54/mile. Chicago to Detroit also hit a high point last week, at $2.79/mile, but it's tough to find good loads out of Detroit. Stick with Columbus.
There are some good TriHaul opportunities there too. Take a load from Chicago to Columbus, then pick up a second load from Columbus to Grand Rapids, on the east side of Lake Michigan. A third load takes you home from Grand Rapids to Chicago. The TriHaul boosts your average from $2.22 to $2.75 per loaded mile, and it also adds 150 miles, so you end up with about $2,350 for 850 miles of driving, instead of $1,560 for a 700-mile roundtrip.
Here's the math.
See what other truckers got paid on the lanes you run by signing up for TruckersEdge Enhanced. You'll see the average prices paid on more than 65,000 lanes, based on real transactions between brokers and carriers. To add rates to your TruckersEdge subscription, call 866.487.8253. TriHaul suggestions are available in DAT Express and Power load boards.