Freight availability and rates on the spot market increased month-over-month and declined slightly year-over-year, according to TransCore's DAT North American Freight index. The index rose 40% from February to March but was down 6.1% compared to March 2011
when the spot market achieved record freight volumes in an early spring peak.

TransCore's monthly DAT North American Freight Index reflects spot market freight availability on the company's network of load boards in the U.S. and Canada.

Truckload freight rates rose on the spot market in March for all equipment types. For dry vans, the most common equipment type, rates increased 3.2% compared to February. Flatbed rates gained 1.2% and rates for refrigerated vans rose 0.7% month-over-month.

Compared to March 2011, spot market rates slipped 1.5% for vans, but rates were unchanged for flatbeds and reefers. Rate information is derived from the company's DAT Truckload Rate Index, where more complete data by equipment type is available. Spot market rates are paid by brokers and 3PLs to the carrier.

Looking ahead to May, carriers are likely to find relatively high freight volumes and a favorable ratio of outbound loads in Ohio, Illinois, Georgia, Indiana and North Carolina. States with freight volumes on the lower end will be California, Texas and Florida.