Extreme Weather Drives DAT North American Freight Index Up 24% in January

  • Spot market freight availability up 24% in January
  • Year-over-year, spot freight volume increased 45%

PORTLAND, Ore. (Feb. 13, 2014)—Spot market freight availability rose 24% in January, exceeding December levels for only the second time since the DAT North American Freight Index began in 1996.

More freight flowed to the spot market in both December and January as shippers and their contracted carriers struggled to meet capacity challenges caused by extreme weather.

Year-over-year, freight volumes were up 45% to a level not experienced since October 2005, when pent-up demand in the wake of Hurricane Katrina drove volume to an all-time high. Van freight increased 52%; reefer loads added 83%, and flatbed freight nearly doubled, with a 93% increase.

Load availability in January rose 21% for both vans and reefers while flatbed loads increased 33% compared to the prior month.

Rates in the spot market also remained unusually high in January, despite a slight decline from December. Average rates dipped 1.4% for vans, 0.6% for reefers, and 5.5% for flatbeds. Compared to January 2013, rates rose 16% for vans, 4.7% for reefers, and 4.0% 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 January 2013. 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.