Freight Rebounds 15% in December: DAT Freight Index

Portland, Ore. – Spot market freight volume rebounded 15 percent in December, month over month, and truckload line haul rates increased for the three primary trailer types, according to the DAT North American Freight Index. Compared to the extraordinary volume and rates of 2014, however, spot market indicators continued to lag.

December Freight IndexBy equipment type, van freight availability increased 19 percent, refrigerated (“reefer”) volume rose 13 percent, and flatbed trailers added 7.4 percent, compared to November. Spot market rates rose 2.0 percent for vans, 2.3 percent for reefers, and 1.8 percent for flatbeds, month over month, not including fuel surcharges.

Compared to the record levels of December 2014, overall freight availability declined 37 percent. By equipment type, van demand was down 35 percent, reefer volume fell 33 percent, and flatbed freight availability lost 47 percent, compared to November 2014. Line haul rates declined 10 percent for vans, 11 percent for reefers, and 7.6 percent for flatbeds, year over year. Total rates paid to the carrier declined by 17 percent, however, due to a 50 percent decline in the fuel surcharge, which comprises a portion of the rate.

Intermediaries and carriers across North America listed more than 95 million loads and trucks on the DAT Network of load boards in 2015. As a result of this high volume, the DAT Freight Index is representative of the ups and downs in North American spot market freight movement.

Reference rates are the averages, by equipment type, of thousands of actual rate agreements between freight brokers and carriers, as recorded in DAT RateView. Rates are cited for line haul only, excluding fuel surcharges, except where noted. 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. Beginning in January 2015, the DAT Index was rebased so that 100 on the Index represents the average monthly volume in the year 2000. Additional trends and analysis are available at DAT Trendlines.