PORTLAND, OR – 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.
Month 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.
Flatbed load availability was up 72% and truckload capacity more than doubled (139% increase) in the first full week of 2015. The load-to-truck ratio lost 28% for the week, from 22.9 back to 16.5 loads per truck.
Load volume dipped 1.2% for flatbeds in December compared to November, and capacity increased 3.1%, yielding a 4.2% decline in the load-to-truck ratio, month over month. The ratio rose 12.6% compared to December 2013, however, due primarily to increased demand.
Flatbed rates dipped 2¢ last week to $2.29 per mile, due in part to a decline in the fuel surcharge.
Demand for reefers increased 39% last week, and capacity surged 45%, as trucking and logistics pros returned to work after the holidays. The resulting load-to-truck ratio declined 4.0%, from 13.9 to 13.4 reefer loads per truck.
Reefer load availability rose 4.1% and capacity added 8.3% in December, compared to November. The resulting load-to-truck ratio dipped 4.2%, to 10.6. Compared to December 2013, the ratio declined 5.3%.
The national average rate lost 3¢ for reefers last week, to $2.35 per mile, partly due to another decline in the average fuel surcharge.
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