Portland, OR – Spot market freight availability rose 24 percent in January, exceeding December levels for only the second time since the DAT North American Freight Index began in 1996. More freight flowed to the spot market in both December and January as shippers and their contracted carriers struggled to meet capacity challenges caused by extreme weather.
Year-over-year freight volumes were exceptional, up 45% to a record level not experienced since October 2005, when pent-up demand drove volume to an all-time high in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Van freight increased 52 percent; reefer loads added 83 percent and flatbed freight nearly doubled, with a 93 percent increase.
Load availability in January rose 21 percent for both vans and reefers, while flatbed loads increased 33 percent, compared to the prior month.
Rates in the spot market also remained unusually high in January, despite a slight decline from December’s rate surge. Rates dipped 1.4 percent for vans, 0.6% for reefers and 5.5 percent for flatbeds. Compared to January 2013, rates rose 16 percent for vans, 4.7 percent for reefers and 4.0 percent for flatbeds.
Reference rates are derived from DAT RateView. Rates are cited for line haul only, excluding fuel surcharges, which increased on a month-over-month basis but declined compared to January 2013. 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.