Activity on one of the nation’s largest spot freight markets, along with most rates, have crept slightly higher over the past week, following a dip the week before.

DAT reports total spot market load availability August 4 through 10 increased 0.1% from the previous seven days.

Rates during the same period increased or held steady, with vans adding 1.1% for an average of $1.86 per mile. Reefers and flatbeds both registered $2.20 per mile, a 0.9% pickup for the former but unchanged for the latter.

Credit: DAT

Credit: DAT

Load-to-truck ratios improved for vans and reefers 1.8% and 2% respectively, while the flatbed figure fell 4.7%.

This comes as DAT says spot market freight volume rose 0.5% in July, exceeding June levels for the first time on record.

It says this year's atypical, extended freight season can be attributed to a combination of pent-up demand for flatbeds due to weather-related delays in housing starts, as well as a robust harvest that added to July demand for refrigerated trailers in the West and Midwest. Flatbed loads increased 6% percent and reefer freight availability rose 1.8%, while van loads declined 6.2% compared to June.

Year-over-year freight availability rose 13% overall, with increased volume for all equipment types. Flatbed volume rose 20%, reefer loads increased 26% and van freight added 6.8% compared to July 2012.

A seasonal month-over-month decline in spot market rates is expected in July, as capacity becomes available in many parts of the country. Rates rose 1.2% for flatbeds. However, they declined seasonally for other equipment types, dipping 0.7% for vans and 3.4% for reefers, as additional truckload capacity became available to meet seasonal demand.

On a year-over-year basis, flatbed rates declined 6.7% and van rates slipped 2.1% from the record highs of July 2012, but reefer rates rose 1.2%

Additional trend information and analysis is available at DAT Trendlines or the DAT blog.