Spot market freight volume and rates fell in July, following a typical seasonal pattern, according to the latest DAT North American Freight Index.

Van freight levels dropped 24% month over month, refrigerated freight was down 23%, and flatbeds were off 33%, for an overall decline of 27% compared to June, based on the DAT Network of load boards in the United States and Canada.

In contrast to last year's record volume, July freight was 40% lower, as volume fell below the same-month total of 2013 for the first time this year. However, freight availability remained strong compared to 2012 and all prior years, according to DAT.

Rates on the spot market followed the month-over-month volume trends by equipment type, declining 1.9% for vans, 2.1% for flatbeds, and 4.2% for reefers.

Comparing freight volume to July 2014 by equipment type, vans declined 33%, reefers were down 20%, and flatbeds dropped 50%. Line haul rates declined only 0.6% for vans, while flatbeds lost 3.7% and reefers edged down 0.5%, year over year. However, the average total rate paid to carriers declined more steeply, due to lower diesel prices that yielded a 40% reduction in the fuel surcharge.

Numbers through nearly the first two weeks in August released last week showed rates were continuing to decline, except for a slight upturn in the flatbed sector.