DAT is widely regarded as the industry leader in freight data and analytics. My team and I relied on this data in previous roles before joining DAT, to confidently build and manage both spot and contract pricing models. Now that I head up our analytics program for DAT iQ, I’ve had the chance to talk with many shippers, carriers and brokers over the last year and hear more about how we can better help them navigate this continually evolving market.
One thing that was resoundingly clear was that speed is incredibly important. That has been proven especially true over the last year with COVID-19. Markets are changing faster than ever and those who are able to anticipate and respond to those changes faster put themselves in a position to be more successful. DAT offers a complete 360-degree view of the North American truckload freight market – a position made even stronger with our acquisition of FMIC from Chainalytics earlier in the year. Whether pricing long-term contract freight or last-minute spot moves, RateView has been the industry standard for a decade.
For pricing spot freight, the 7-day average in RateView has long provided the most complete and representative view of spot market conditions over the prior week. However, a lot can change in a week’s time, which is why many of our customers track the weekly average every single day to track where the market has gone and where it’s heading. Our new 3-day average rate is the Goldilocks of rate benchmarks: the perfect blend of time and density. This new metric provides insight on current rate trends more than 50% faster than the 7-day average and has excellent national coverage across the three main equipment types.
Generating a 7-day rate on over 60k market-to-market lanes for three equipment types every single day requires a lot of data. Getting to a 3-day rate requires even more. Luckily, DAT has amassed hundreds of billions of dollars in actual freight transactions over the last decade. This gives us the density to provide a market-representative weighted average on more lanes at finer time granularities than anyone else in the market. Other firms rely on factoring data that can be delayed, or load board bids that may not reflect the actual cost to move the shipment. Some freight data providers are known to use modeled rates that are based on trucking cost benchmarks and external market data to calculate what the rate should be. In a rapidly changing spot market, this could result in major losses if used unchecked.
A logical question might be, “Why not a 1-day rate?” We actually have 1-day rates available to customers through our Data Analytics Services team and on a state-to-state level within RateView. The successful usage of our 1-day rates requires a higher level of understanding and sophistication to capture day-of-week effect. Another question might be: “Who cares about yesterday’s rate, what about today, tomorrow, or next week?” The answer to these questions is Ratecast, which generates over 6M rate forecasts per day, ranging from 1 day to 1 year in the future.
This product update is part of DAT’s focus on continuous improvement to provide our customers with the very best freight data possible. We aim to take the uncertainty out of freight and promote transparency to all participants in the truckload market. DAT has many more exciting things coming in 2021 that will help our customers make better decisions faster.