PORTLAND, Or. — Based on January’s freight numbers, 2014 got off to a strong start.
According to figures compiled by the DAT North American Freight Index, “more freight flowed to the spot market in both December and January as shippers and their contracted carriers struggled to meet capacity challenges caused by extreme weather.”
That activity caused the spot market freight availability to rise 24% in January, reaching a level that exceeded December’s statistics. DAT reports that situation has only happened twice in the history of the Index.
Load availability was also up in January when compared with December, increasing 21% for both vans and reefers and 33% for flatbeds.
January 2014 was stronger than January 2013, as rates rose 16% for vans, 4.7% for reefers and 4.0% for flatbeds. In certain segments, there was a decline in spot market numbers from December to January, but it was a small one: 1.4% lower for vans, 0.6% lower for reefers, 5.5% lower percent for flatbeds. Other segments actually increased, with reefer rates rising 3.2% and flatbeds going up 5.5%.
Year-over-year freight volumes displayed the most significant change, jumping up 45% “to a record level not experienced since October 2005, when pent-up demand drove volume to an all-time high in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.” DAT figures show van freight grew 52%; reefer loads were 83% higher and flatbed freight nearly doubled, with a 93% increase.