Spot market freight volume rose 34% in March 2015 compared with February, which is typical for the season, according to the DAT North American Freight Index. By comparison, March 2015 freight availability declined 28%. The spring freight season usually begins in late March, but a prolonged winter in 2014 led to unprecedented volume throughout the entire first quarter. By equipment type, freight volume increased month-over-month: 34% for vans, 41% for flatbeds, and 20% for refrigerated (reefer) trailers. Truckload freight rates on the spot market rose seasonally for all equipment types: van rates climbed 2.5%, flatbeds added 2.8%, and reefers were up 1.7% over February totals. Compared with the extraordinary market conditions of March 2014, year-over-year, freight volume by equipment type declined 19% for vans, 42% for flatbeds, and 1.3% for reefers. Rates trended up, however: van rates gained 2.5%, flatbeds were up 6.9%, and reefer rates rose 6.4%, compared to March 2014. Monthly average rates have advanced year-over-year for more than 20 consecutive months.
Intermediaries and carriers across North America listed more than 120 million loads and trucks in 2014 on the DAT Network of load boards. As a result of this high volume, the DAT Freight Index is representative of the ups and downs in North American spot market freight movement. In 2015, DAT reformulated the index with 2000 as the baseline year. Reference rates are derived from DAT RateView. Rates are cited for linehaul only, excluding fuel surcharges, which decreased significantly on both a month-over-month and year-over-year basis. The monthly DAT North American Freight Index reflects spot market freight availability on the DAT Network of load boards in the United States and Canada. Portland OR-based DAT Solutions operates a large network of load boards and is a source of supply and demand trends, rate benchmarking, and capacity planning information. Related services include a directory of companies with business history, credit, safety, insurance, and company reviews; broker transportation management software; fuel tax, mileage, vehicle licensing, and registration services; mobile resource management; and carrier onboarding. Founded in 1978, DAT Solutions is a wholly owned subsidiary of Roper Industries. Access www.dat.com to learn more.