DAT Freight Index: November Rates Break 3-Year Record for Dry and Refrigerated Vans

PORTLAND, Ore. — Capping an 18-month streak of rising spot market load volume and rates, the national average spot van rate hit $2.07 per mile, the highest monthly average since December 2014, and 5 cents above October levels. The average reefer rate gained 11 cents to $2.43, the highest monthly average since June 2014, as shippers clamored for trucks to move retail freight ahead of the holidays.

The availability of truckload freight in November was 39 percent higher compared to the same period last year, according to the DAT North American Freight Index. The Index, a sensitive indicator of demand for transportation services, is published monthly by DAT Solutions, which operates North America’s largest digital truckload freight marketplace

Overall load volume dropped 13 percent compared to October, a typical seasonal decline. The number of available van loads dipped 5 percent while refrigerated (“reefer”) loads increased 4 percent compared to October.

“Demand for spot truckload services has been at an all-time high since August, and November continues that trend again, despite seasonal declines,” said Mark Montague, DAT industry analyst. “Increased freight activity, higher fuel prices, and uncertainty surrounding the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate all contribute to this pressure on rates, which are expected to remain elevated through the end of the year and beyond.”

The number of available flatbed loads declined 26 percent month over month in November, in line with seasonal expectations. The national average flatbed rate fell 3 cents on the spot market, to $2.30 per mile.

Established in 1978, DAT operates a network of load boards serving intermediaries and carriers across North America. For more than a decade DAT has published its Freight Index, which is representative of the dynamic spot market.

Reference rates are the averages, by equipment type, based on $33 billion of actual transactions between freight brokers and carriers, as recorded in DAT RateView. Reference rates per mile include fuel surcharges, except where noted, but not accessorials or other fees. Beginning in January 2015, the DAT Freight Index was rebased so that 100 on the Index represents the average monthly volume in the year 2000. Additional trends and analysis are available at DAT Trendlines.