January spot-market freight availability increased 62 percent over January 2010 volumes, according to TransCore's North American Freight Index.
This is the highest volume on record for the month of January, and the seventh consecutive month when year-over-year volumes surpassed the record-setting levels of 2005.

January's load availability lagged December's volume by only 2.8 percent, the smallest month-over-month dip in the past decade, when the average was a 15 percent decline from December to January.

In keeping with seasonal trends, the national average line-haul spot market rates cooled for refrigerated trucks for the second consecutive month, with a $0.05 (3.4 percent) decline to $1.42 per mile in January, compared to December. Dry van rates dipped by $0.03 (1.6 percent) in January, while flatbed rates dropped by $0.01 per mile.

When these spot market rates are compared to January 2010, however, they show increases for all equipment types. Year-over-year, van rates increased by 14 percent, flatbeds commanded an 11 percent increase and reefer rates rose by 6 percent. Spot market rates are the rates that brokers and 3PLs pay to the carrier.

Looking ahead to March, TransCore believes the best combinations of high freight volumes and favorable inbound-to-outbound load ratios will come from Illinois, Georgia, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin.