Spot market freight availability as measured by the DAT North American Freight Index has run high since July 2013 due to factors including extraordinary weather events, regulatory changes and driver shortages. May 2014 extends the trend, becoming the eleventh consecutive month to post a year-over-year record high, a 40 percent increase over last May. Month over month, however, May freight volumes declined 2.1 percent compared to April.
Freight volume for vans, the predominant equipment category, was up 25 percent, refrigerated freight volume increased 18 percent, and flatbed freight volume rose 85 percent compared to May 2013.
Month over month, van freight availability was fairly stable with a 1.0 percent decline, reefer freight dropped 4.8 percent, and flatbed volume lost 1.6 percent. The increase in freight, together with capacity constraints, added pressure to rates. Compared to May 2013, the average van rate rose 18 percent, the average reefer rate jumped 20 percent, and the flatbed rate increased 12 percent. Month over month, the average rate declined 2.0 percent for vans while the reefer rate increased 3.4 percent and the flatbed rate rose 1.1 percent.
Reference rates are derived from DAT RateView. Rates are cited for line haul only, excluding fuel surcharges, which declined on a month-over-month basis but increased compared to May 2013.
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.