With another month behind us in this global supply chain shortage, it is time to see where freight prices per mile line up. DAT Freight & Analytics has the numbers!
February 2022 Rates
The average national rates for each form of hauling was as follows:
- Dry van was $3.10 per mile, the same as it was in January.
- Flatbed hit $3.18, a six-cent increase from January and a new all-time high.
- Reefer fell to $3.52, a seven-cent decrease from January.
- The average was $3.27, technically lower than in January but obscured by rounding to the nearest penny.
We have a hypothesis for why reefer hauling has decreased, and the explanation might seem to be so simple as to be silly. February is a cold month. As such, companies with less sensitive goods that need to be kept at a cool temperature but not freezing may have opted to go for dry van or flatbed hauling instead, whereas in the summer they would have opted for reefer hauling instead.
What Happens Next?
Though reefer has decreased in price per mile, it is extremely unlikely that it will ever be dethroned as the king of freight rates. The inner workings of a reefer trailer to keep its contents cool require diesel fuel, and that cost is factored into the rate.
We hesitate to say reefer will reign supreme with 100% certainty, however, as we live in crazy times. From the global supply chain shortages in everything from citrus to semiconductors, as well as political instability in other regions of the globe, just about anything is fair game at this point. Anything is on the table at this point.
Another possibility to predict from the data is that rates are finally starting to equalize. Both the dry van market and the average either did not move or barely moved at all. Could this be signs of things slowing down in the white-hot freight market that has been going crazy for well over a year at this point? We will just have to see come next month: dry van hauling having the same rate for two months in a row is a coincidence, but three would be a pattern.
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