6 Key Factors That Influence Dry Van Rates

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6 Key Factors That Influence Dry Van Rates
dry van trailer

Due to its high availability, affordable rates, and versatile operations, many companies and businesses rely on dry van shipping for local and nationwide freight transportation.

However, dry van freight shipping rates vary wildly throughout the year. Failure to learn about dry van shipping rate trends can cause significant damage to potential earnings. With this in mind, businesses need to keep track of the dry van shipping market and know the specific factors that can cause massive rate fluctuations.

You can generate major savings in your logistics operations by planning around the factors that influence dry van rates. Learn about the 6 main factors that influence the dry van rates.

1.  Delivery Location and Distance

Shipping to a farther location will drive up dry van rates, but mileage isn’t the only factor determining the delivery distance. Dry van rates are highly dependent on pick-up and delivery location. The trucking lane is the specific route a driver takes from the origin point to destination point of your shipment. The lane used to move your shipment can affect your rates.

In general, dry van rates between major cities with established shipping lanes are cheaper than shipments to and from rural areas. Extra shipping charges are also applied when delivering to non-commercial locations and limited-access locations like military bases.

2.  Supply and Demand

Supply in the logistics industry refers to the number of trucks available to make a delivery. The shortage of drivers or trailers may be temporary, in which case you should prepare by establishing a contracted rate with your shipping partners. However, if low capacity is industry-wide, there is not much to be done as everyone will be expected to pay more.

When it comes to demand, it’s mostly affected by the produce season, which starts in spring and lasts until early summer. The food industry will be scrambling to make deliveries during this time, so make sure to plan around this season. Otherwise, you should get a contracted rate with your provider. Another time period that can effect demand is peak shipping season. This season runs from mid-August to October fueled by back-to-school and holiday shipping demands.

3.  Freight Class

Freight that requires special handling or special delivery instructions is more complex and time-consuming to handle. Accessorial charges beyond basic shipping freight dock to dock can involve special equipment like forklifts, liftgates, or time-window deliveries.

The type of freight is classified according to 18 different freight classes, ranging from Class 50 to Class 500. Freight class is determined by National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) codes, and it’s based on:

  • Storability
  • Handling
  • Density
  • Liability

The higher the freight class, the more expensive your freight rates will be.

4.  Fuel Costs

Calculating fuel costs can be complicated as you’ll need to factor in surcharges and taxes, which vary by region and state. Fuel costs and the associated fees and taxes will cause significant changes in dry van rates especially if your freight is crossing state lines.

5.  Unexpected Events or Disasters

Unique and unforeseen events (such as natural disasters) that cause factories, warehouses, and roads to close can cause dry van rates to spike. Unfortunately, not much can be done during these situations since it’s physically impossible for most trucks to make pick-ups and deliveries during this period.

6.  Choosing the Right Shipping Carrier

Multiple factors affect dry van rates, but the good news is it’s possible to avoid most of them by careful planning and risk mitigation. You’ll need to build an effective strategy based on the right tools, experience, and flexibility.

While it’s possible to get regular updates on the US freight market conditions and regulations through freight analytics, choosing the right carrier can guarantee that you get the best rates in your area. With a freight shipping marketplace, it’s possible to get an overview of the best domestic freight carriers.

GoShip.com features a self-service online quote calculator that simplifies the process of getting freight quotes, booking, and customer support.