Spot market freight availability declined for a second consecutive month in February 2015, a seasonal pattern that mimics the first quarter of 2013, but at higher volume. Month-over-month freight volume dipped 6.0%, according to the DAT North American Freight Index. Weighed against the extreme demand created by the Polar Vortex in February 2014, however, volume was 37% lower. Compared with January, freight volume by equipment type declined 3.9% for vans, 3.4% for flatbeds, and 18% for refrigerated (reefer) trailers. Truckload freight rates on the spot market drifted down 1.9% for vans, 3.2% for flatbeds, and 5.2% for reefers. In contrast to the extraordinary market environment of February 2014, freight volume by equipment type dropped 34% for vans, 45% for flatbeds, and 15% for reefers in February 2015.
Linehaul rates trended up, however, to compensate for falling fuel surcharges. Van rates added 6.7%, reefer rates increased 7.7%, and flatbed rates rose 8.4%, year over 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. Beginning in January 2015, the DAT Index was rebased so 100 on the index represents the average monthly volume in the year 2000. Additional trends and analysis are available at DAT Trendlines. Portland OR-based DAT Solutions LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Roper Industries, a diversified technology company. Access www.dat.com for more details.