Truckload Line Indexes: Spot Truckload Prices vs Contract Pricing

Posted On 17th November 2015

According to the Cass Truckload Linehaul Index, using spot trucks is on average less expensive than using contract carriers (dedicated equipment) in most lanes in the USA. However, such a rough analysis with truckload indexes might not be completely fair to the contract carriers, which may have higher expenses as a result of servicing such demanding shippers.

Spot vs Contract Freight

For instance, the comparison does not account for the way certain shippers require their contract carriers to operate using “dropped trailers”, which allow the shippers to load the trailers at their leisure.

These shippers treat the dropped trailers as their own, and this leads to inefficiencies and higher rates for the carrier. In comparison, spot truckers require trailers to be completely loaded and all paperwork completed within 2 hours, or the penalty clock starts to tick.

On the other hand, if a shipper is able to pack more product into a dropped trailer via floor or hand loading than would be possible within the spot market trailer’s 2-hour window, then the extra costs of the line haul might be offset by more volume of product moving via each truck.

However, the reality is that shippers most likely do not pack more products into their dropped trailers from contract carriers, so most shippers would do well to look to the spot market through a discount transportation broker like FreightRun provides an automated pricing feature for Truckload shipments – and the entire process can be automated for even more cost savings. Get a free quote now or contact us.