Freight Rates Dwindle Expectedly for February 2023
While America is experiencing a tumultuous winter as a whole, the trucking industry is having an average slow season. As to be expected, freight rates decreased to match demand after the holidays. DAT Freight & Analytics has the numbers.
February 2023 Numbers
- Dry van hauling declined from $2.38 to $2.26 per mile.
- Flatbed decreased four cents down to $2.71 for each mile, on average.
- Reefer hauling had the sharpest drop, dropping eighteen cents to $2.61.
- The average fell about eleven cents to $2.53.
This month also marks a reversal of a reversal: once again, flatbed is king of the road. With a ten cent difference, it is likely to stay the most lucrative form for freight hauling throughout March.
All of this raises the question as to why reefer rates have dropped further than flatbed. The easy explanation would be that demand for refrigerated goods has decreased as the days get colder, but the more likely explanation has to do with the added costs of using a reefer truck. Diesel prices remain elevated far beyond the average cost per gallon, and when those costs invariably raise the price of delivery, demand suffers.
Contrast this with flatbed hauling, the primary method of transporting lumber. Lumber prices dropped fairly consistently during February 2023, and as such demand for the construction material is shooting through the roof. When people want lumber for their construction projects, they need someone to deliver it, and flatbed haulers benefit.
While March is still a part of the typical slow season for the trucking industry, it is much faster than the two months preceding it. We expect freight rates to mostly level for the third month of the year before picking up steam once again in April.
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