While October was the second strongest month for spot market freight availability so far this year there were only small improvements in rates, according to the freight matching service provider DAT Solutions and its North American Freight Index.
Compared to September, total spot market freight volume rose 1.8%. An 11% increase in flatbed freight volume was responsible for the month-over-month growth, as van volume dipped 0.6%, and reefers lost 4% in October, compared to September.
Flatbed freight is associated with energy exploration, as well as construction, which may have gotten a boost in October due to post-hurricane relief and rebuilding in the Southeast.
“The atypical trend included a surge in volume and rates on eastbound, long-haul van lanes out of the West Coast, although declining volume in other regions prevented van volume from exceeding September levels,” said DAT. “The west-to-east increases were likely due in part to re-scheduling of retail freight movements in the wake of the Hanjin Shipping bankruptcy, as well as abundant fall harvests in California and the Pacific Northwest.”
When October is compared to the month before van rates rose 1.4 %. Reefer rates experienced a seasonal decline of 1.2%, but flatbed rates rose 0.6%, month over month.
Year-over-year, October 2016 truckload freight availability was up 27%, as the number of loads on the spot market surpassed same-month levels from the previous year. October marked the third consecutive month of year-over-year increases.
Dry van freight availability increased 51% in October, and refrigerated volume rose 44%, compared to October 2015. Flatbed freight volume edged up 0.5%, marking the first year-over-year increase for flatbeds in 16 months.
Line haul rates declined for all three equipment types, however, compared to October 2015. Van rates dropped 2.7%, reefers lost 1.2%, and flatbed rates fell 4.6%, year over year.
The average fuel surcharge, a component of the total rate paid to carriers and pegged to the retail price of diesel, fell 4.3% year-over-year, but the surcharge rose 10% from September to October.