8 Numbers That Are Just As Important as the Rate

With DAT RateView, you can compare contract and spot market freight rates on more than 65,000 lanes in North America. But sometimes, that's not even the most important thing it can tell you.

Based on actual transactions, the database offers a wealth of information. Here are 8 data points included in DAT RateView that are just as important as the rate.

1. The Range

Based on the equipment type and time frame you're searching, half of all loads that move on that lane move in this range. A wide range signals volatility, which could mean that the market on that lane is changing or that it has multiple segments.

2. The History

The 13-month history lets you see how prices on a lane might fluctuate seasonally. You can look at the last few months and compare today's rate to where it was a year ago to determine if prices are going up or down.

3. The Comparative Rate (Contract)

Compare spot market rates to contract rates. The contract rate includes broker margins or carrier sale expenses, and takes account the stability of freight volumes on that lane.

4. The Time Frame

RateView can calculate the average rate based on anything as recent as the past 7 days to the past year. The 7-day rate is the most important when rates are moving or on a volatile lane. You can adjust the time frame and compare results to get extra insight into the history of that lane. Most DAT load board subscriptions show a 90-day rate.

5. Geography

Competing freight pricing tools use point-radius calculations for origins and destinations. For example, if you're searching for loads or trucks in Chicago, it might search within a 100-mile radius. DAT uses Key Market Areas based on zip codes as well as the population, industry, and economics of a region. Comparing lane rates based on the 3-digit zip and the expanded market – or even the region – gives you better insight into the demand in an area and a more accurate representation of the market rate.

6. Number of Reports, Number of Companies

This shows you the overall freight volume on a lane. Averages are calculated on a minimum of 8 reports from 3 companies, and you'll see these numbers change based on the time frame and geography you choose when searching. A good rule of thumb is to use caution when there are fewer than 20 reports.

7. Your Rate and Number of Reports

You can compared what you've paid to what other brokers have paid. Your rate might be lower because you have a good network of carriers. Or it might be higher because of customer requirements.

8. Loads per Truck

This is a snapshot of the supply and demand for that market from the previous business day. A higher number means capacity is tighter, which will impact the rate.

Jeff Nastoff

Jeff Nastoff is an Industry Market Specialist at DAT Solutions, where he helps transportation and logistics professionals to improve and act on their grasp of dynamic market conditions. Jeff previously worked for Merrill Lynch and Cost Advisors, Inc. He holds an MBA from University of Oregon.