Spot market freight availability declined for a second consecutive month in February, a seasonal pattern that mimics the first quarter of 2013, but at higher volume. Month-over-month freight volume dipped 6.0 percent, according to the DAT North American Freight Index. Compared to the extreme demand created by the Polar Vortex in February 2014, however, volume was 37 percent lower.
Compared to January, freight volume by equipment type declined 3.9 percent for vans, 3.4 percent for flatbeds and 18 percent for refrigerated (“reefer”) trailers. Truckload freight rates on the spot market drifted down 1.9 percent for vans, 3.2 percent for flatbeds, and 5.2 percent for reefers.
Compared to the extraordinary market environment of February 2014, freight volume by equipment type declined 34 percent for vans, 45 percent for flatbeds and 15 percent for reefers last month. Line haul rates trended up, however, to compensate for declining fuel surcharges. Van rates added 6.7 percent, reefer rates increased 7.7 percent, and flatbed rates rose 8.4 percent, year over year.
Reference rates are derived from DAT RateView. Rates are cited for line haul only, excluding fuel surcharges, which declined significantly on both a month-over-month and year-over-year basis. 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.