DAT has been reporting on trends in spot market demand since 1996, and freight volume on the load board always declines from June to July. Always. Over the past ten years, the average month-over-month decline was 20%. This year, instead of a peak in June, the graph looks more like a mesa — it’s nearly flat on the top.
Increased demand for flatbeds and reefers led to this atypical, extended freight season:
1. Flatbeds: Weather-related delays in housing starts in the spring, led to pent-up demand and a 6.0% rise in flatbed loads.
2. Reefers: Robust harvests in the West and Midwest added to a 1.8% uptick in July demand for refrigerated (“reefer”) trailers.
Van loads declined 6.2% compared to June, which conforms to seasonal norms.
A decline in spot market rates is also typical in July, as capacity becomes available in many parts of the country. Rates rose 1.2% for flatbeds last month, however.
Rates declined seasonally for other equipment types, dipping 0.7% for vans and 3.4% for reefers, as additional truckload capacity became available to meet demand. On a year-over-year basis, flatbed rates declined 6.7% and van rates slipped 2.1% from the record highs of July 2012, but reefer rates rose 1.2%. Additional trend information and analysis is available at DAT Trendlines.
Rates are derived from DAT RateView, which is based on $20 billion dollars of actual transactions paid by brokers, 3PLs and shippers to carriers. Reference rates are for line haul only, excluding fuel surcharges, which were unchanged in July on a month-over-month basis, but declined compared to July 2012.