The freight-matching service provider DAT TransCore new North American Freight Index shows a return to post-recession freight volumes during February, following a record-setting January.

Compared to February 2012, freight availability declined 2.5%. Month-over-month spot freight declined 14% when compared to January’s unusually high freight volumes.

Year-over-year freight availability by equipment type varied. A surge in freight for vans and reefers at the end of the month contributed to 7.6% and 7.2% increases, respectively, compared to February 2012. Flatbed freight declined 11% following seasonal norms.

On a month-over-month basis, van loads slipped 11%, refrigerated freight volume declined 15%, and flatbed freight availability was unchanged.

Rates increased 0.8% on the spot market in February for vans compared to January but declined 6.0% for reefers and 2.0% for flatbeds. As freight volume rose in the final days of February, van rates also increased. Compared to February 2012, van rates rose 1.6% and reefer rates increased 2.9% while flatbed rates fell 7.5%.  

Among the highest-volume states for spot market freight availability in February, the greatest balance between inbound and outbound loads was found in Pennsylvania, Indiana, Missouri, New York, and Virginia.

The DAT North American Freight Index is a measure of spot market freight availability in the U.S. and Canada.

Rates are linehaul only and exclude fuel surcharges.