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Monthly Spot Freight Measure Falls, Rates Tick Higher

December 11, 2015

By Evan Lockridge

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Following an established seasonal pattern, spot market freight volume declined 15% in November from the month before, largely due to a drop in demand for flatbed trucks, but there were slight improvements in rates, including into this month.

That’s according to the just released DAT North American Freight Index, reflecting spot market freight availability on the DAT Network of load boards in the U.S. and Canada

Spot freight volume has declined in November in every year except 2012 according to DAT and its index, which has recorded monthly spot market freight levels since 1997.

By equipment type, van freight availability declined a modest 2.9%, while flatbed trailers lost 39%, but refrigerated volume increased 9.1% compared to October.

Spot market rates edged up 0.7% for vans and 0.6% for reefers, month-over-month as flatbed rates declined 4% due to seasonal pressure.

When comparing last month to November 2014, overall freight availability slid 45%.

Although November volume was lower than same-month levels of the past five years, strong volume from the first half of this year boosted volume for the year to-date, according to DAT. That total was higher than the comparable period in any year prior to 2013.

By equipment type, van demand was down 43%, flatbed volume fell 53%, and reefer freight availability lost 41%, compared to November 2014.

Line haul rates declined 8.6% for vans, 7.2% for flatbeds, and 11% for reefers, year-over-year. Total rates paid to the carrier declined by 17% due to a 49% decline in the fuel surcharge, which comprises a portion of the rate.

This follows spot market numbers published by DAT earlier showing rates are slowly heading higher into December after several months of declines followed by stagnation.

 

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