Spot Market Truck Freight and Rates Dip Seasonally in April: DAT Freight Index

Portland, Ore – Spot market freight volume in April followed a typical seasonal pattern, declining 10 percent compared to March, according to the DAT North American Freight Index. Year over year, freight availability declined 27 percent compared to the extraordinary volume of 2014. When compared to 2013 and all previous years, April 2015 volume exceeded same-month totals.

DAT Freight IndexBy equipment type, freight volume declined 23 percent for vans and 25 percent for refrigerated (“reefer”) trailers compared to March, but flatbed freight availability increased 18 percent month over month. Rates by equipment type on the spot market followed the trends in volume, slipping 2.5 percent for vans and 0.5 percent for reefers, while flatbed rates rose 0.5 percent, compared to March.

Compared to April 2014, freight volume declined for all equipment types: down 18 percent for vans, 4.9 percent for reefers, and 38 percent for flatbeds. Line haul rates trended up, however: van rates rose 4.6 percent, reefers were up 3.4 percent, and flatbed rates rose 3.9 percent, compared to April 2014.

Although the line-haul portion of the rate increased year over year, carriers received a lower total rate due to declining fuel prices and associated surcharges. The total rate declined on both a month-over-month and year-over-year basis for all equipment types.

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 derived from 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.