Freight and Rates Surge on the Spot Market: June DAT Freight Index

Portland, OR – Continuing a pattern for 2014, truckload freight availability remained elevated on the spot market in June, according to the DAT North American Freight Index, up 50 percent from the previous year. The year-over-year increases were reflected in the three major equipment types: van loads grew 39 percent, while refrigerated (“reefer”) freight added 51 percent and flatbed volume rose 69 percent. Demand was driven by robust, seasonal fruit and vegetable harvests, combined with a surge of manufacturing and construction-related freight.

The increased demand, together with capacity constraints, caused spot market truckload rates to rise year over year for all major equipment types: van up 15 percent, reefer up 10 percent, and flatbed rates up 14 percent.

Compared to May, freight volume increased 9.8 percent in June with van and reefer freight each surging 20 percent, while flatbed freight volume rose 3.7 percent. Spot truckload rate increases were more modest month over month: vans rose 7.4 percent, reefers moved up 6.0 percent, and flatbeds saw a 4.4 percent increase.

The record levels of freight and the elevated truckload rates on the spot market in 2014 have been due to several factors, starting with disruptive winter weather followed by an improved economy coupled with seasonal influxes of freight and capacity constraints. As a result, shippers have increasingly relied on third-party logistics (3PL) providers to meet the needs caused by the growing volume of exception freight.

Second quarter volume increased overall by 4.9 percent compared to Q1, reflecting a typical seasonal pattern.

Reference rates are derived from DAT RateView. Rates are cited for line haul only, excluding fuel surcharges, which declined on a month-over-month basis but increased compared to June 2013. The monthly DAT North American Freight Index reflects spot market freight availability on the DAT Network of load boards in the United States and Canada. Additional trends and analysis are available at DAT Trendlines.