Will rates ever return to pre-covid trends?
The short answer- probably not. Like most industries, logistics and transportation still feels the seasonal trend changes it did prior to the COVID pandemic. The problem is, rates skyrocketed drastically when the pandemic hit and to think they will drop back down to a pre-pandemic level would be wishful thinking.
That doesn’t mean we won’t see the traditional dips in various seasons or markets. It just means, the dips likely won’t be as big as the climb. The good news? They may not drop, but they seem to be holding steady early in 2022 per DAT industry trends- depending on what you are shipping. Dry van and reefer rates have seen a slight decrease in spot rates, but flat beds have seen a significant increase.
DAT spot rates by equipment through the first week of March can be seen below.
What is that doing to the rates?
Well, it depends what location the freight is shipping outbound from. All areas have held fairly steady through 2022 so far, but the averages only paint part of the picture. Where you’re shipping from will show you the other part.
According to DAT, the average dry van rates are highest in the north, lowest in the south and in the middle on both coasts.
To top it all off, fuel continues to rise with the transpiring of the global events in Russia and Ukraine. National fuel prices have
increased 1% to $4.10 per gallon. This is going to drive rates up and will likely change the direction of the trends discussed above.
Long story short- expects rates to trend upward over the next several weeks due to fuel. If nothing else, they will flatline, but you need to be prepared for significant rate increases over the short-term.