DAT North American Freight Index Reports Spot Market Decline – Weather a Factor

Portland, OR – Spot market freight volumes reported by the DAT North American Freight Index declined 16 percent compared to the record April high in 2012. The year-over-year freight declines were seen across all equipment types: van load volume declined 20 percent, reefer loads slipped 10 percent and flatbed freight dropped 15 percent.

At a time of year when a month-over-month increase in spot market freight volume is expected, the DAT Freight Index declined by 5.8 percent. Although atypical, freight volumes are reminiscent of those experienced in April of 2011. Unusually inclement weather, including floods in the upper Midwest, may have been a factor. Freight availability declined 14 percent for vans and 17 percent for reefers, but rose 6.6 for flatbeds, compared to March.

Compared to April 2012, spot market rates declined along with demand for vans and flatbeds, but refrigerated (“reefer”) rates saw an increase. Van rates slipped 0.8 percent and flatbeds dropped 5.3 percent, while reefer rates rose 2.0 percent.

Rates are derived from DAT RateView, which is based on $18 billion dollars of actual transactions paid by brokers, 3PLs and shippers to carriers. Reference rates are for line haul only, excluding fuel surcharges.

The monthly DAT North American Freight Index reflects spot market freight availability on the TransCore DAT network of load boards in the United States and Canada where more than 90 million loads and trucks were listed during 2012. As a result of this high volume, the DAT Freight Index is representative of the ups and downs in the North American spot market.