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How To Set Freight Rates
September 27th, 2011

Whenever I teach a freight rate development workshop, I talk about how important it is to know and understand what is going on in the market place and how rates are affected by supply and demand. In the United States, transportation rates are not set by the government; rather, they are left to the “free market” under the economic theory of “laissez faire” (that’s French for ‘no government interference with trade’). “You can’t just pull a rate out of thin air…,” I tell folks, “To quote the ‘going rate,’ you have to have a tool.”

One such tool is TransCore’s “DAT Partners Rate Index.” The index is a tool that “can assist you in selecting a suitable rate for moving freight in any land.” Information is available on any lane in the United States. Rate data are based on information supplied by major carriers. TransCore offers van, flat, and reefer rate ranges. Mileage is supplied by “Pro Miles.” For more information, email and we’ll put you in touch with Bert or his assistant Ernie. Alright, I’m just kidding about Ernie. Her name is Natalie.

The Internet Truck Stop is another excellent resource when it comes to developing freight rates. Their “Rate Mate” product can help you determine posted and paid rate averages, and they have a built-in fuel cost and fuel surcharge calculator. You can develop your rate card for van, flat, reefer and specialty vehicles. They can also help you run your shippers’ credit to make sure you are working with the right shippers and increase the likelihood you will get paid. and we’ll pass you over to Leigh.

You might also visit This tool tells you the market rate, average fuel surcharge, average fuel price, and practical miles for any lane. Quickly identify revenue and margin, plus save money in fuel costs by knowing the lowest priced fuel location on the lane. Email to learn more. James will be glad to tell you about their product.

With respect to fuel surcharges, for weekly data on the national average price of diesel fuel, visit the U.S. Department of Energy’s website: Some trade groups like the American Moving & Storage Association analyze these data and then recommend fuel surcharge percentages.

To learn more about setting line haul rates and surcharges, attend our one-day “Introduction to Freight Brokering Workshop” for just $500. Or attend one of our upcoming “Truckers’ Conferences in Texas, Florida or Pennsylvania. Call Toll Free: (888) 414-1874.

James P. Lamb is the President of, Inc., a transportation management consulting & training firm serving all 50 states and Canada. Have a suggested topic for Mr. Lamb? Email:

By James P. Lamb, USDOT/FMC Practitioner
President,, Inc.

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November 11th, 2011

Free knowledge like this doesn’t just help, it promote demcoarcy. Thank you.