DAT Freight Index: September Spot Freight Volume Slips 14%, in Seasonal Trend

PORTLAND, Ore. – Freight resumed a seasonal pattern on the spot market in September, with a month-over-month decline of 14 percent. Compared to September 2017, volume dropped 30 percent, influenced by a steep drop in demand for flatbed equipment, compared to last year’s hurricane aftermath. Hurricane season has not had a major impact on freight flows so far this year.

“The decline in load posting volume in the DAT load board marketplace actually signals a return to stability, as 3PLs and freight brokers are able to find trucks more quickly,” explained DAT market analyst Peggy Dorf. “Volume can be expected to increase in the fourth quarter, although year-over-year increases may be muted due to the strength of comparable months in 2017.”

Spot market rates edged up for dry van and refrigerated (“reefer”) equipment, month over month, despite declining volume. However, rates slipped a few cents lower for flatbed trailers. All trailer types got a rate increase compared to September 2017 averages.

Despite the decline, rates are higher for all equipment types than in any previous year since at least 2010, when DAT introduced the first spot market rates database.

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. Referenced rates are the averages by equipment type, based on $57 billion of actual transactions, as recorded in DAT RateView. Rates per mile include fuel surcharges, but not accessorials or other fees.