Truckload spot market rises for two consecutive months

Truckload spot market rises for two consecutive months

Truckload freight availability climbed 12% in September 2016 compared with September 2015, as the number of loads on the spot market surpassed same-month levels from the previous year for the second consecutive month.

In August, the spot market enjoyed the first year-over-year increase since December 2014, according to the DAT North American Freight Index.

Dry van and refrigerated van freight rose by 33% and 27%, respectively, but flatbed freight volume slipped 13% versus September 2015. Flatbed volume has declined on a year-over-year basis for the past 15 months due to a downturn in economic sectors, such as oil and gas, that produce flatbed freight.

Month-over-month, spot market freight volume edged up 0.6% to the second-highest level in 2016. This is an atypical seasonal pattern; September volume dropped month over month in eight of the previous 10 years. A 2.7% gain in van freight volume was responsible for the month-over-month growth, as reefer volume sunk 1.1% and flatbeds lost 1.9% in September compared with August.

The rise in van freight volume boosted spot market rates by 1.4%, and reefer rates added 0.6% month over month. September flatbed rates fell 1.2% versus August, however, in a common seasonal pattern.

On a year-over-year basis, the average linehaul rate decreased 6.0% for vans, 4.5% for reefers, and 7.8% for flatbeds, compared with September 2015. The average fuel surcharge—a component of the total rate paid to carriers—plunged 9.1% year over year, deepening the decline in carriers’ total revenue per mile. The surcharge is pegged to the retail price of diesel fuel.

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.

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