January spot truckload market improves: DAT

Avatar photo

PORTLAND, OR – With spot truckload freight settling into its usual post-holiday pattern, the DAT North American Freight Index dropped in January, but still settled at significantly higher levels than January 2016.

Dropping 2.5% in January compared to a very strong December, the Freight Index was 56% higher compared to January 2016, according to DAT Solutions, which operates an on-demand exchange for spot freight.

Spot van, refrigerated, and flatbad rates were higher than January 2016, however the flow of capacity from contract carriers onto the spot market, specifically on high-traffic lanes, lowered rates compared to December.

“Coming off a high in December, January was still very solid for spot freight,” says Don Thornton, senior vice president at DAT. “As a result, we saw more contract carriers make their trucks available on load boards, and the added capacity contributed to lower rates on many high-traffic lanes.”

While the volume of van freight on the spot market fell 9% in January compared to December, it was up 63% compared to January 2016. Compared to December, the national average van rate was down five cents at US $1.68 per mile including a fuel surcharge, however the rate was up two cents compared to January 2016.

Following suit, available refrigerated loads fell 8% in January compared to December but increased 57% compared to January 2016, with available capacity rising 1%.

At a US $1.96 per mile including a fuel surcharge, the average spot rate for refrigerated freight was three cents lower than December, but six cents higher than January 2016.

Flatbed demand jumped 18% compared to December and was up 64% compared to January 2016, with capacity rising 3%.

Compared to December, the national average flatbed rate dropped five cents at US $1.91 per mile, but was three cents higher compared to January 2016.

Based on US $33 billion of actual transactions between freight brokers and carriers, reference rates are the averages by equipment type as benchmarked in DAT RateView.

Avatar photo

John G. Smith is the editorial director of Newcom Media's trucking and supply chain publications -- including Today's Trucking, trucknews.com, TruckTech, Transport Routier, and Road Today. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

Have your say

This is a moderated forum. Comments will no longer be published unless they are accompanied by a first and last name and a verifiable email address. (Today's Trucking will not publish or share the email address.) Profane language and content deemed to be libelous, racist, or threatening in nature will not be published under any circumstances.