Two separate measures of spot market truck freight volume turned lower in April following an improvement the month before, according to two newly released reports.
The DAT North American Freight Index shows line haul rates declined 1.5% for vans and 0.6% for reefers month-over-month, but flatbed rates increased 1.2%.
The gauge, based on the DAT Solutions' network of load boards in the U.S. and Canada, also shows an overall seasonal decline in spot market freight volume of 3.4%. Freight availability in April declined 8.9% for dry vans and refrigerated volume fell 9.4%, but flatbed volume increased 3.9%.
Compared to April 2015, overall spot market freight availability fell 30%. “Year-over-year declines have been following a consistent pattern in every month since January 2015, due to lower demand for transportation services in the spot market, as well as readily available truck capacity,” said DAT in a news release.
Demand declined 38% for vans, 34% for reefer trailers and 22% for flatbeds, year-over-year. Line haul rates fell 16% for vans, 12% for reefers and 8% for flatbeds in April compared the same time in 2015
A 41 percent drop, or 12 cents, in the average fuel surcharge also contributed to the decline in total carrier revenue per mile, according to DAT. The total rate includes both the line haul rate and the surcharge, which is pegged to the retail cost of diesel fuel.
Canada Freight Volume Also in Seasonal Lull
Meantime, sister company TransCore Link Logistics reported volume for Canadian and cross-border spot loads fell in April after three consecutive months of improvements, according to its Canadian Spot Market Freight Index and its Loadlink loadboard, a trend that is typical for the month of April.
Compared to March, April volume receded 12% following its peak close for the first quarter of 2016, while year-over-year volume fell 17% compared to April 2015.
Cross-border loads averaged 69% of the total data submitted by Loadlink’s Canadian-based customers. Compared to last year, loads leaving Canada were down by 6% and loads coming into Canada dropped by 27%.
Intra-Canada load volume represented 27% of the total volumes and dipped by 2% compared to volume in April 2015.
Posted equipment was flat month-over-month, but these postings represent a 13% increase in April from a year earlier. The equipment-to-load ratio increased to 3.47 to 1 from 3.05 to 1 in March. Year-over-year, this ratio increased from 2.50 to 1 in April 2015, representing a 39% change.
TransCore’s Canadian Freight Index measures the movement of freight and equipment from roughly 5,500 of Canada’s trucking companies and freight brokers, and includes all domestic, cross-border and interstate data submitted by Loadlink’s customers.
Both DAT Solutions and Transcore Link Logistics are owned by Roper Technologies.