Spot freight rose 3.6% in the U.S. and Canada November over October, according to the DAT North American Freight Index -- the first time November freight volumes outpaced October levels since the DAT Freight Index was established in 1996.

Some of the increase can be attributed to demand for vans and refrigerated trucks for disaster relief and re-stocking after Hurricane Sandy.

The increase in U.S. freight availability was partly offset by a seasonal decline in freight from Canada.

Year-over-year, North American freight volume on the spot market increased 4.1%.

On a month-over-month basis, van load volumes increased 11% and reefer freight levels rose 16%, but flatbeds experienced a 6% decline in freight availability. Year-over-year, van freight volume rose 7.7%, reefer freight remained stable with a 0.4% increase, while flatbed freight volumes fell 10%.

Following a similar pattern, van and reefer rates increased 6.8 and 1.3%, respectively on a per-mile basis, while flatbed rates declined 1.8%, compared with October. Compared to November 2011, van rates rose 3.7%, reefer rates were up 1.3% and flatbed rates increased 1.2%.

Rates are derived from the DAT Truckload Rate Index, and do not include fuel surcharges, which declined by 1 cent in November on a month-over-month basis and increased year-over-year for all equipment types. Spot market rates are paid by brokers and 3PLs to the carrier.

Looking ahead to January, typically a slow season on the spot market, the best combination of load volume and a favorable ratio of outbound loads should be found in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin in the Midwest, and in the Southeastern states of Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee.