Spot market freight volumes reported by the DAT North American Freight Index rose 5.6% from April to May, but fell compared to the same time a year ago.

DAT North American Freight Index rises in May.

DAT North American Freight Index rises in May.

Newly released figures show the increase was consistent with seasonal expectations, including freight volume increasing from April to May in eight of the past ten years, for an average increase of 6.3%, compared to this year’s 5.6% uptick. Freight availability rose 19% for vans and 27% for reefers, but declined 7.2% for flatbeds.

Compared to May 2012, when freight reached an all-time high, freight volume declined 13%. The drop was due largely to a 24% decline in load availability for flatbeds. Van freight declined 7.1%, but there was a 3.6% increase in reefer loads.

Spot market rates rose 3.9% for vans in May, reefer rates soared 12%, while flatbed rates lost 0.6%, compared to April. On a year-over-year basis, van rates were unchanged, while reefer rates rose 2.5%. Flatbeds dropped 8.0% from the extremely high rates that accompanied scarce capacity during May 2012.

The state with the most load board activity during May was Texas followed by Illinois, with both described as having a good ratio of outbound to inbound loads. Georgia was ranked third, with the ratio rated as excellent. It was followed by Ohio and Pennsylvania, with the outbound to inbound load ratios rated as poor, despite having the fourth and fifth greatest load volumes.

Rounding out he top 10 for load volumes are Indiana, California, Florida, North Carolina and Tennessee, all rated great or excellent for outbound to inbound load ratios.

DAT says looking ahead to July, there is an unusually favorable ratio of outbound loads in Texas, which also consistently offers the highest volume of available freight. Outbound loads should also continue to be plentiful in the Southeastern U.S., particularly Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Alabama.

The monthly DAT North American Freight Index reflects spot market freight availability on the DAT network of load boards in the United States and Canada.