Executive Briefings

Seasonal Decline Up Ahead for Truckload Freight

Spot market freight volume declined seasonally in January, down 11 percent from an atypical December high, according to the DAT North American Freight Index, an indicator of truckload freight demand and capacity. Volume slipped 27 percent compared to January 2014. It was the first year-over-year decline on the Index in 19 months.

Compared to December 2014, freight volume by equipment type fell 18 percent for vans, 3.1 percent for flatbeds, and 2.5 percent for refrigerated trailers. Truckload freight rates on the spot market drifted down 3.6 percent for vans and 3.1 percent for reefers, while the average flatbed rate was unchanged, month-over-month.

Compared to the extraordinary market conditions of January 2014, freight volume by equipment type declined 27 percent for vans, 35 percent for flatbeds, and 0.7 percent for reefers.

Rates trended up, however: Van rates added 15 percent, flatbeds were up 7.9 percent, and reefer rates rose 3.8 percent, 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.

Reference rates are derived from DAT RateView. Rates are cited for line haul only, excluding fuel surcharges, which declined 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.

Note: Beginning with January 2015, the DAT North American Freight Index has been re-based so that 100 on the Index represents the average monthly volume in the year 2000.

Source: DAT Freight Index

Compared to December 2014, freight volume by equipment type fell 18 percent for vans, 3.1 percent for flatbeds, and 2.5 percent for refrigerated trailers. Truckload freight rates on the spot market drifted down 3.6 percent for vans and 3.1 percent for reefers, while the average flatbed rate was unchanged, month-over-month.

Compared to the extraordinary market conditions of January 2014, freight volume by equipment type declined 27 percent for vans, 35 percent for flatbeds, and 0.7 percent for reefers.

Rates trended up, however: Van rates added 15 percent, flatbeds were up 7.9 percent, and reefer rates rose 3.8 percent, 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.

Reference rates are derived from DAT RateView. Rates are cited for line haul only, excluding fuel surcharges, which declined 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.

Note: Beginning with January 2015, the DAT North American Freight Index has been re-based so that 100 on the Index represents the average monthly volume in the year 2000.

Source: DAT Freight Index