Spot market freight volume declined seasonally in January 2015, down 11% from an atypical December high, according to the DAT North American Freight Index. Compared with January 2014, volume slipped 27% from extraordinary demand during the previous winter’s Polar Vortex. This was the first year-over-year decline on the index in 19 months. In contrast to December 2014, freight volume by equipment type declined 18% for vans, 3.1% for flatbeds, and 2.5% for refrigerated (reefer) trailers. Truckload freight rates on the spot market drifted down 3.6% for vans and 3.1% for reefers, while the average flatbed rate was unchanged, month over month.
Compared with the extraordinary market conditions of January 2014, freight volume by equipment type retreated 27% for vans, 35% for flatbeds, and 0.7% for reefers in January 2015. Rates trended up, however: Van rates added 16%, flatbeds rose 7.9%, and reefer rates gained 3.8%, year over year. Monthly average van rates have increased year over year for 19 consecutive months, while flatbed and reefer rates have trended up every month since the end of 2013. Beginning with February 2015, the DAT Index has been rebased, so 100 on the index represents the average monthly volume in the year 2000. Reference rates are derived from DAT RateView. Rates are cited for linehaul only, excluding fuel surcharges, which decreased 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. Additional trends and analysis are available at DAT Trendlines. Founded in 1978, DAT Solutions is a wholly owned subsidiary of Roper Industries. Go to www.dat.com to learn more.