Truckload Freight and Rates Increase in the Off-Season: DAT Freight Index

Spot market freight volume was atypically strong for the season in December, increasing 3.0 percent compared to November, according to the DAT North American Freight Index. Freight volume has declined in December in 11 of the past 15 years. Compared to December 2013, volume rose 11 percent, in the eighteenth consecutive month of year-over-year gains for the Index.

DAT Freight Index 2014Month over month, freight volume increased 5.3 percent for vans and 4.1 percent for refrigerated (“reefer”) trailers, but flatbed freight availability dipped 1.2 percent. Truckload rates rose 4.3 percent for vans, 2.1 percent for reefers, and 1.6 percent for flatbeds.

Compared to December 2013, freight volume increased 27 percent for vans, 18 percent for reefers and 11 percent for flatbeds, year over year in the U.S. Rates also increased in the U.S. for the three major equipment categories: Van rates rose 15 percent, reefer rates increased 24 percent, and flatbeds added 13 percent, compared to December 2013. Load availability declined for specialty trailers and other equipment types, on both a month-over-month and year-over-year basis.

Reference rates are derived from DAT RateView. Rates are cited for line haul only, excluding fuel surcharges, which declined 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. Additional trends and analysis are available at DAT Trendlines.