Iowa trucking company reserves five Tesla electric semi trucks

Ruan Transportation Management Systems has reserved five of Tesla’s new electric tractor trailers for testing and delivery next year.

Des Moines-based Ruan Transportation will add at least five Tesla semis to its fleet in 2019. The company plans to test the vehicle prototypes in California before they’re delivered.

“These new trucks stand to revolutionize interstate transport and change the way we do business. Ruan has always been a leader in efficient transport and logistics, so it makes perfect sense to explore what these trucks could do for us and our customers,” James Cade, vice president of fleet services for Ruan, said in a news release.

Ruan officials say they’ve been in touch with Tesla throughout its development process leading up to CEO Elon Musk’s November announcement of the Tesla Semi prototype.

Ruan will pay about $180,000 per vehicle. For comparison, most diesel-powered tractors cost about $100,000. Tesla predicts the electric vehicle will pay for itself within two years due to savings in fuel, aerodynamics and reliability.

Lowa trucking company reserves five Tesla electric semi trucks

DAT Freight Index: Spot Market Truckload Volume Sets Record in March, Driven by Demand for Flatbeds

PORTLAND, Ore., DATE — Spot truckload freight availability rebounded in March, to set a new 20-year record for the DAT North American Freight Index. The 38 percent increase in volume, year over year, was due largely to extraordinary demand for flatbed equipment to move industrial cargo for energy and construction.

The Freight Index, a monthly measure of demand for spot market freight, is published by DAT Solutions, which operates North America’s largest load board marketplace.

Flatbed freight rates also set a record in March, at $2.53 per mile, including fuel. Flatbeds got a 16-cent increase month over month, and were paid a full 50 cents more than the average for March 2017.

Van rates rose 3 cents compared to February, and 52 cents year over year. Rates for refrigerated (“reefer”) cargo were down 1 cent at $2.40 per mile month over month, but reefer rates rose 53 cents compared to March 2017.

Rates continued to rise sharply through the first week in April, which is not typical after the close of a fiscal quarter. Van rates are on track to exceed their previous record high of $2.24 per mile, achieved in January, and flatbed rates continue to reach new heights, as well. Reefer rates are lagging, however, because spring produce harvests have not reached their peak.

“Economic growth, particularly in the energy sector, supports heightened demand for truckload transportation, and capacity is not keeping up with that demand,” said DAT industry analyst Mark Montague. “Unless something changes, we can expect rates to continue rising at least until the end of June.”

Established in 1978, DAT operates a network of load boards serving intermediaries and carriers across North America. For more than a decade DAT has published its Freight Index, which is representative of the dynamic spot market.

Referenced rates are the averages, by equipment type, based on $45 billion of actual transactions, as recorded in DAT RateView. Reference rates per mile include fuel surcharges, but not accessorials or other fees. The DAT Freight Index reflects load posting volume on the DAT network of load boards, and 100 on the Index represents the average monthly volume in the year 2000. Additional trends and analysis are available at DAT Trendlines.

DAT Freight Index: Spot Market Truckload Volume Sets Record in March, Driven by Demand for Flatbeds

DAT Trend Lines

Industry Trends - Spot MarketIndustry Trends - VanIndustry Trends - FlatbedIndustry Trends - ReeferIndustry Trends - Fuel Prices
Industry Trends WEEK MONTH YEAR
Apr 1 – 7 vs.
Mar 25 – 31
Mar 2018 vs.
Feb 2018
Mar 2018 vs.
Mar 2017
Spot Market Loads +3.2% +27% +92%
Spot Market Capacity 2.7% +14% 7.0%
Van Load-To-Truck +2.8% 1.5% +116%
Van Rates (Spot) +4.2% +1.4% +32%
Flatbed Load-To-Truck +9.3% +37% +148%
Flatbed Rates (Spot) +4.0% +6.8% +25%
Reefer Load-To-Truck +5.8% +7.0% +68%
Reefer Rates (Spot) +3.3% 0.4% +28%
Fuel Prices +1.1% 1.9% +17%
Rates Rise as ELD Penalty Phase Begins

Flatbed Load-to-Truck Ratio Hits All-Time High

Apr 1 – 7 – There’s often a lull following the end of Q1, but spot market rates for vansreefers and flatbeds roared in the first week of April, compared to the March averages. Last week was the first week in which trucks would be placed out of service for not having an ELD, and load-to-truck ratios rose for vans, reefers, and flatbeds, indicating tight truckload capacity. The flatbed ratio hit an all-time high of 111 loads per truck.

DAT Trend Lines

SPECIAL OFFER: Free 50-Lane Look Up – Benchmark your rates against $45 billion in actual transactions.  Learn More >

National average spot market rates for the past four weeks, including fuel surcharges, are shown in the above graph. Weekly rate snapshots reflect averages for the month to-date, from DAT RateView.

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