DAT Freight Index: Record Demand Boosts Spot Truckload Rates to New Heights in June

PORTLAND, Ore. — Demand for truckload shipments faced off against capacity shortfalls, boosting truckload rates to new heights on the spot market in June, according to DAT Solutions, which operates North America’s largest load board marketplace.

Rates for spot market transactions matched longer-term contract rates for dry van equipment, while spot refrigerated (“reefer”) and flatbed rates exceeded contract rates as a national average.

“June capped an unprecedented 15-month run of spot market rate increases, the longest sustained period of pricing power for truckers since deregulation,” noted Mark Montague, pricing analyst at DAT.

“While contract rates typically rise after a sustained increase in spot market rates, there is usually a lag of four to six months. This year, that lag time is reduced to a few weeks,” Montague explained.

Contract rates increased 19 percent for vans compared to June 2017, but spot market rates rose by 29 percent during the same period.

Spot van rates hit $2.32 per mile, and rates paid to carriers by freight intermediaries matched the longer-term contract rates paid by shippers directly to carriers.

Spot reefer and flatbed rates both exceeded the comparable contract rates, as reefer rates rose 16 cents to $2.69 and flatbeds added 10 cents to $2.82, compared to the national averages for May.

Compared to June 2017, spot van rates soared 52 cents per mile, reefers surged 58 cents and flatbeds shot up 65 cents.

Freight availability on DAT load boards also set a new record, as the DAT North American Freight Index rose 9.3 percent month over month, and increased 18 percent compared to June 2017.

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.

Referenced rates are the averages by equipment type, based on $57 billion of actual transactions, as recorded in DAT RateView. Reference rates per mile include fuel surcharges, but not accessorials or other fees. The DAT Freight Index reflects load posting volume on the DAT network of load boards, and 100 on the Index represents the average monthly volume in the year 2000. Additional trends and analysis are available at DAT Trendlines.

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Flatbed demand has been unprecedented this year, bolstered by increased activity in the energy and construction sectors, and compounded by the tighter hours-of-service limitations that have affected every trucking segment since the implementation of the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate. As a result, flatbed rates have set new records. The national average flatbed rate for May was $2.73 per mile, an 8-cent increase over the April average and an all-time high. The national flatbed rate was 63 cents higher than in May 2017, which included a 14-cent increase in the average fuel surcharge from a year ago.

The peak shipping season out of Florida helped push the average reefer rate to $2.52 per mile, 10 cents higher than the previous month’s average and 50 cents higher than last year. Spring harvests contributed to tighter truckload capacity for dry van freight as well, which pushed the average van rate up to $2.16 per mile in May. That rate was 1 cent higher than the April average and a 47 cent increase from May 2017.

“Seasonal demand kept truckload capacity tight across the southern half of the country,” said DAT industry analyst Mark Montague. “We can expect the high volumes and strong market conditions to keep rates elevated through June and beyond.”

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.

Referenced rates are the averages, by equipment type, based on $45 billion of actual transactions, as recorded in DAT RateView. Reference rates per mile include fuel surcharges, but not accessorials or other fees. The DAT Freight Index reflects load posting volume on the DAT network of load boards, and 100 on the Index represents the average monthly volume in the year 2000. Additional trends and analysis are available at DAT Trendlines.

About DAT Freight & Analytics

DAT operates the largest spot freight marketplace in North America. Transportation brokers, carriers, news organizations and industry analysts rely on DAT for market trends and data insights derived from 183 million annual freight matches and a database of $118 billion of market transactions. Related services include a comprehensive directory of companies with business history, credit, safety, insurance and company reviews; broker transportation management software; authority, fuel tax, mileage, vehicle licensing, and registration services; and carrier onboarding.

Founded in 1978, DAT Solutions, LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Roper Technologies (NYSE:ROP), a diversified technology company and constituent of the S&P 500, Fortune 1000 and Russell 1000 indices. www.DAT.com


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Eileen Hart
Vice President, Marketing & Corporate Communications
DAT Solutions
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