DAT North American Freight Index Sees Atypical Year-End Rise

  • Spot market freight availability in December up 10% month-over-month, 45% year-over-year

PORTLAND, Ore. (Jan. 15, 2014)—Spot market freight availability rose 10% in December 2013 compared to November, according to the DAT North American Freight Index, capping two quarters of unusually strong seasonal volume. Typically, freight levels peak in the second quarter of the year, fall in Q3, and remain low through year end. This year, a high plateau remained through most of the second half of 2013, according to the company.

Compared to December 2012, freight volume increased 45% for the month and the continued, atypical demand set a sixth consecutive record for same-month freight volume, with the highest level for any December since the DAT Index began in 1996.

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Load availability in December rose 19% for vans, 14% for refrigerated (“reefer”) trailers, and 1.0% for flatbeds compared to the prior month. Year-over-year, van freight volume increased 41%, reefer loads added 65%, and flatbed freight increased 43%.

Rates in the spot market rose 5.0% for vans to a monthly average of $1.95 per mile, the highest observed figure since DAT began publishing spot market rates in 2009.

Reefer and flatbed rates increased 3.2% and 3.8%, respectively, month-over-month. Compared to December 2012, rates rose 15% for vans, 6.7% for reefers, and 7.8% for flatbeds.

Reference rates are derived from DAT RateView. Rates are cited for line haul only, excluding fuel surcharges, which increased on a month-over-month basis but declined compared to December 2012. The monthly DAT North American Freight Index reflects spot market freight availability on the TransCore DAT network of load boards in the United States and Canada.