Spot Market Freight Declines in Typical January Trend

Spot market rates declined 1.3 percent for vans, 1.1 percent for reefers and 0.6 percent for flatbeds, month over month

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PortlandFeb. 15, 2016—Spot market freight volume declined 9.1 percent in January and truckload line haul rates edged down compared to December. The month-over-month decline was typical of seasonal norms, according to the DAT North American Freight Index. January freight availability increased in only three of the past 20 years represented in the index. The exceptions were January 2010, 2013 and 2014.

By equipment type, van freight availability declined 15 percent and refrigerated (reefer) volume lost 8.9 percent, but flatbed trailers added 6.1 percent, compared to December. Spot market rates declined 1.3 percent for vans, 1.1 percent for reefers and 0.6 percent for flatbeds, month over month, not including fuel surcharges.

Compared to January 2015, overall spot market freight availability fell 35 percent. This continues a 13-month trend of year-over-year declines, due to a combination of tepid freight growth and abundant capacity.

Van demand was down 32 percent, reefer volume fell 37 percent and flatbed freight availability lost 42 percent, year over year. Line haul rates declined 7.4 percent for vans, 7.9 percent for reefers and 8.1 percent for flatbeds, year over year.

Total rates paid to the carrier declined by 14 percent compared to January 2015, however, due to a 49 percent decline in the fuel surcharge, which comprises a portion of the rate.

Intermediaries and carriers across North America listed more than 95 million loads and trucks on the DAT Network of load boards in 2015. 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.

Reference rates are the averages, by equipment type, of thousands of actual rate agreements between freight brokers and carriers, as recorded in DAT RateView. Rates are cited for line haul only, excluding fuel surcharges, except where noted. 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 that 100 on the index represents the average monthly volume in the year 2000. Additional trends and analysis are available at DAT Trendlines.

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