September Spot Freight Volume Holds Steady: DAT Freight Index

Portland, Ore. – Spot market freight volume remained stable in September, edging down only 0.6 percent month over month, as modest increases in freight for van and refrigerated (“reefer”) trailers were offset by a decline in flatbed demand, according to the DAT North American Freight Index.

DAT Freight IndexBy equipment type, van freight levels increased 2.3 percent month over month, reefer freight added 2.1 percent, and flatbed volume lost 5.1 percent, compared to August. Line haul rates on the spot market followed the month-over-month volume trends by equipment type, rising 0.7 percent for vans, and remaining stable for reefers, with a 0.6 percent decline for flatbeds.

Compared to atypically strong spot market volume of 2014, freight was down 41 percent in September. By equipment type, year over year, van freight availability declined 33 percent, reefers were down 26 percent, and flatbeds dropped 54 percent.

Line haul rates declined 2.6 percent for vans, while reefer rates lost 3.3 percent and flatbeds dropped 5.3 percent compared to September 2014. Total rates paid to the carrier declined by 13 to 15 percent year over year, 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 120 million loads and trucks last year on the DAT Network of load boards. 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. In 2015, DAT re-formulated the Index with 2000 as the baseline year.

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.