Trucking companies received the highest rates from freight brokers and intermediaries in 13% of lanes in the third quarter, compared to 24 percent in Q2.

A new report released by TransCore, "Spot Market Rates vs. Contract Rates Q3 2011," analyzes shifts in demand and truck capacity that led to seasonal and regional changes in pricing for truckload freight transportation on the spot market.

The report, which is based on the company's Truckload Rate Index, shows that the region of highest demand and rising freight rates shifted during Q3 from the Southeast to the Upper Midwest and West Coast. National average rates dipped on the spot market in July and August for dry vans, the dominant mode of freight transportation. Spot market rates then rebounded in September, in advance of holiday retail shipments.

Spot market rates are rates paid to the carrier by freight brokers and other freight intermediaries. When demand and capacity are in balance, spot market rates are typically 10 to 15 percent lower than contract rates for the same route or lane. When spot market rates exceed contract rates, it indicates pricing pressure in a specific market or lane.