Truckload Freight and Rates Dip Seasonally in February

PORTLAND, Ore. (March 9, 2015)—Spot market freight availability declined for a second consecutive month in February, a seasonal pattern that mimics the first quarter of 2013, but at higher volume.

Month-over-month freight volume dipped 6.0 percent, according to the DAT North American Freight Index. Compared to the extreme demand created by the Polar Vortex in February 2014, however, volume was 37 percent lower.

Compared to January, freight volume by equipment type declined 3.9 percent for vans, 3.4 percent for flatbeds and 18 percent for refrigerated (“reefer”) trailers. Truckload freight rates on the spot market drifted down 1.9 percent for vans, 3.2 percent for flatbeds, and 5.2 percent for reefers.

Compared to the extraordinary market environment of February 2014, freight volume by equipment type declined 34 percent for vans, 45 percent for flatbeds and 15 percent for reefers last month. Line haul rates trended up, however, to compensate for declining fuel surcharges. Van rates added 6.7 percent, reefer rates increased 7.7 percent, and flatbed rates rose 8.4 percent, year over year.