The July DAT North American Freight Index posted a 0.5% gain in July over June, the first time it has exceeded June levels since 1996.
The index, DAT said, has averaged month-over-month declines of 20% in June over the past 10 years. Freight volume typically declines from June to July, the firm said.
This year’s atypical extended freight season can be attributed to a combination of pent-up demand for flatbeds due to weather-related delays in housing starts, as well as a robust harvest that added to July demand for refrigerated trailers in the West and Midwest, DAT said. Flatbed loads increased 6% and reefer freight availability rose 1.8%, while van loads declined 6.2% compared to June.
Year-over-year freight availability rose 13% overall, with increased volume for all equipment types. Flatbed volume rose 20%, reefer loads increased 26% and van freight added 6.8% compared to July 2012.
A seasonal month-over-month decline in spot market rates was expected in July as capacity became available in many parts of the country. Rates rose 1.2% for flatbeds, however. Rates declined seasonally for other equipment types, dipping 0.7% for vans and 3.4% for reefers, as additional truckload capacity became available to meet seasonal demand.
On a year-over-year basis, flatbed rates declined 6.7% and van rates slipped 2.1% from the record highs of July 2012, but reefer rates rose 1.2%.
Rates are derived from DAT RateView, which is based on $20 billion dollars of actual transactions paid by brokers, 3PLs and shippers to carriers. Reference rates are for line haul only, excluding fuel surcharges, which were unchanged in July on a month-over-month basis, but declined compared to July 2012, DAT said.
The monthly DAT North American Freight Index reflects spot market freight availability on the TransCore DAT network of load boards in the United States and Canada.