DAT Analytics reports a solid November for truckload freight volumes.  -  Source: DAT Analytics

DAT Analytics reports a solid November for truckload freight volumes.

Source: DAT Analytics

A post-Thanksgiving surge in truckload freight volumes made for a solid November overall compared to previous years, reported DAT Freight & Analytics, which operates the DAT One online freight marketplace and DAT iQ data analytics service.

The DAT Truckload Volume Index, an indicator of loads moved in a month, fell month over month for all three equipment types:

  • Van: 232, down 9% compared to October
  • Refrigerated: 191, down 3.5%
  • Flatbed: 232, down 11.1%

“Thanksgiving and Black Friday were early in the month, which meant there was almost a full week of shipment activity after the holiday,” said Ken Adamo, DAT chief of analytics.

“Businesses running leaner inventories compared to the last couple of years are taking advantage of lower transportation rates as they position goods ahead of peak retail shopping.”

Truckload Market Capacity Still Loose

Shippers continued to benefit from ample truckload capacity, according to the DAT Truckload Volume Index.

"For every 10 carriers that left the market in November, eight new ones came in," Adamo said. "There's been an acceleration of capacity out of the long-haul freight sector, where carriers are subject to spot-rate volatility and high diesel costs, and a shift back to other parts of the economy, like regional dedicated operations."

Load-to-truck ratios, which measure the number of loads posted to the DAT One marketplace relative to the number of trucks, were at their lowest point for November since 2015.

  • Van ratio: 2.1, unchanged from October
  • Reefer ratio: 3.2, up from 2.9
  • Flatbed ratio: 5.5, down from 6.3

DAT said low ratios signal weak negotiating power for truckload carriers. Changes in the ratio usually anticipate changes in the pricing environment.

Van, Reefer Line-Haul Rates

National average broker-to-carrier spot rates showed little movement in November, according to DAT.

The van rate was $2.07 per mile, 2 cents less than in October, while the reefer rate increased 3 cents to $2.49 per mile.

The flatbed rate rose 5 cents to $2.43 a mile. Year over year, average spot rates were down 16 cents for vans, 30 cents for reefers, and 19 cents for flatbeds, accounting for lower fuel costs compared to November 2022, according to DAT.

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