TransCore's North American Freight Index was up 11% in December compared to the same month in 2010. This is the third consecutive year of increases in same-month spot market freight volume, which has reached the highest level since 2005.

Compared to November, spot market freight volume slipped 18%. It is typical for spot market freight volume to decline in December. This year's dip was slightly above the 10-year average of 14%, partly because November's volume was stronger than seasonal norms.

Truckload freight rates likewise increased year-over-year on the spot market for all equipment types. When compared to November, rates declined for refrigerated and dry vans in December but flatbed rates remained stable, as a national average.

For dry vans, rates rose 5.5% compared to December 2010, and slipped 0.7% compared to November. Refrigerated van rates rose 4.1% year-over-year but fell 2.5% month-over-month. Flatbed rates increased 5.7% compared to the same month in 2010, but remained unchanged in the most recent 31 days.

These rates are derived from TransCore's Truckload Rate Index, and do not include fuel surcharges. Spot market rates are paid by brokers and 3PLs to the carrier.

Looking ahead to February, the best combination of relatively high freight volume and a favorable ratio of outbound loads are expected to emerge in Ohio, Illinois, Georgia, Indiana, Wisconsin and Tennessee.

Intermediaries and carriers across North America list more than 60 million loads and trucks per year across a variety of services feeding TransCore's DAT Network, including Link Logistics, the company's Canadian subsidiary. As a result of this high volume, TransCore's North American Freight Index is representative of the ups and downs in North American spot market freight movement.