PORTLAND, Ore. — Spot freight availability in May increased 19 percent for both dry vans and refrigerated (“reefer”) vans. Flatbed freight, however, declined by 10 percent month over month largely due to energy sector woes impacting Houston, the top flatbed market in North America. Consequently, overall spot market freight volume increased 5 percent, compared to April, according to the DAT North American Freight Index.
Average line haul rates on the spot market increased 1.5 percent for vans and 4.3 percent for reefers month over month. During the latter half of May, however, rising rates on the top 80 van lanes far outnumbered declines, indicating rates were following increased demand. Flatbed rates declined 0.6 percent, month over month.
Compared to May 2015, overall spot market freight availability was down 25 percent. Spot freight has declined year-over-year since January 2015. Contributing factors include vastly increased contract carrier capacity and intermediaries tendering exception freight to their core carriers.
Year over year, demand declined 25 percent for vans, 28 percent for reefer trailers, and 26 percent for flatbed freight. Likewise, year-over-year line haul rates fell 14 percent for vans, 11 percent for reefers, and 8 percent for flatbeds.
Total carrier revenue has been impacted by a 35 percent drop ($0.10 per mile) in the fuel surcharge compared to last May. The total rate includes both the line haul rate and the surcharge, which is pegged to the retail cost of diesel fuel.
Established in 1978, DAT operates a network of load boards serving intermediaries and carriers across North America. For more than a decade DAT has published its Freight Index, which is representative of the dynamic spot market.
Reference rates are the averages, by equipment type, based on $28 billion of actual transactions between freight brokers and carriers, as recorded in DAT RateView. Rates are cited for line haul only, except where noted. Beginning in January 2015, the DAT Freight 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.