Portland, OR -- The December DAT North American Freight Index saw the highest volume for the month since the Index began in 1996. Compared to December 2011, freight volume was up 5.0 percent in the spot market. However, compared to unusually robust November spot market freight levels declined 18.4 percent, following a typical seasonal pattern. In eight of the past ten years, volume dropped between November and December, for a ten-year average decline of 13 percent.
The seasonal trend equally affected all three of the major equipment types on a month-over-month basis. Compared to December 2011, van freight volume increased 13.1 percent, refrigerated (“reefer”) freight levels were flat and flatbed freight availability dropped 7.3 percent. The monthly DAT North American Freight Index reflects spot market freight availability on TransCore’s network of load boards in the United States and Canada.
Following the same seasonal pattern, rates declined for the three equipment types in December: van, reefer and flatbed rates declined 4.3 percent, 3.8 percent and 7.8 percent, respectively, compared with November. On a year-over-year basis, van rates rose 0.8 percent, while reefer rates dipped 2.0 percent and flatbed rates dropped 7.3 percent.
Rates are derived from national averages in the DAT Truckload Rate Index, and do not include fuel surcharges. Spot market rates are paid by brokers and 3PLs to the carrier.