DAT North American Freight Index Up 7.7 Percent in Q1, Despite March Dip

Portland, OR – Spot market freight volumes reported by the DAT North American Freight Index finished the first quarter of 2013 up 7.7 percent compared to Q1 2012 and rose 11 percent over Q4 2012.

After an unusually strong January, freight volumes dipped seasonally in February and continued to follow typical patterns in March with a 37 percent increase over the previous month. However, spot market freight availability in March was 4.5 percent below the same-month total in 2012.

Compared to February, March spot market freight volumes expanded for all equipment types: van loads increased 26 percent, refrigerated (“reefer”) rose 33 percent, and flatbed loads were up 48 percent.

Compared to March 2012, spot market van loads increased 1.5 percent and reefer freight availability rose 3.6 percent, however, flatbed freight volume declined 11 percent.

Spot market rates in March rose compared to February across all equipment types. Rates for both vans and flatbeds increased 2.4 percent and reefer rates rose 2.1 percent. On a year-over-year basis, rate and freight volume demand trends were consistent for each equipment type, rising 1.6 percent for vans and 1.4 percent for reefers but declining 4.3 percent for flatbeds.

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.