Spot Market Freight Volume Remains High in May: DAT Freight Index

Spot market freight availability as measured by the DAT North American Freight Index has run high since July 2013 due to various factors including extraordinary weather events, regulatory changes and driver shortages. May 2014 numbers extend the trend, becoming the eleventh consecutive month to post a year-over-year record high with a 40% increase over last May. Month over month, however, May freight volumes declined 2.1 percent compared to April’s.

Freight for vans, the predominant equipment category, was up 25 percent, refrigerated (”reefer”) freight increased 18 percent, and flatbed freight volume rose 85 percent compared to May 2013. Month-over-month van freight availability was fairly stable with a 1.0 percent decline, while reefer freight dropped 4.8 percent and flatbed volume lost 1.6 percent.

The increase in freight, together with capacity constraints, added pressure to rates. Compared with May 2013, van rates rose 18 percent, reefers added 20 percent, and flatbeds commanded a 12 percent increase. Month over month, rates declined 2.0 percent for vans while reefers got a 3.4 percent rate increase and flatbed rates rose 1.1 percent.

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 May 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.