Spot truckload rates rise to highest in nearly two years

Spot truckload rates rise to highest in nearly two years

Spot truckload freight activity in June 2017 rallied to record highs for the number of available loads while rates rose to their highest points in nearly two years, according to the DAT North American Freight Index.

The June Freight Index increased 24% compared with May and was up 57% year over year, capping a robust first half of 2017.

Van freight activity jumped 35% from May and 68% year over year. Refrigerated (reefer) freight made similar gains, up 23% over May and 66% year over year.

Flatbed freight, which includes construction materials and machinery, showed more modest gains. Activity climbed 14% compared with May. Year-over-year gains were more substantial for flatbeds, up 66% versus June 2016.

Brokers and shippers had a harder time finding trucks and paid a premium in most major markets and lanes. Compared with May, the van rate gained 11 cents to $1.80 per mile while the reefer rate was up 10 cents to $2.12 per mile. The flatbed rate was $2.16 per mile, up 6 cents month over month.

Spot truckload rates incorporate a fuel surcharge that is tied to the average price of on-highway diesel, which has fallen 7 cents per gallon since the start of 2017.

“Spot rates have remained strong for all three equipment types even though the surcharge portion has been shrinking compared to previous years,” said Mark Montague, DAT industry pricing analyst.

He added that July typically is a month of transition, when freight activity begins tapering off until the end-of-year holiday season. This year may be an exception, however, as load availability and pricing trends remained strong in the first week of July.

Established in 1978, DAT operates a network of load boards serving intermediaries and carriers across North America. For more than a decade, it has published its Freight Index, which is representative of the dynamic spot market.

Reference rates are averages, by equipment type, based on $33 billion of actual transactions between freight brokers and carriers, as recorded in DAT RateView. Rates per mile include fuel surcharges, but not accessorials or other fees.

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