North America Spot Freight Measure Falls 15 Percent

PORTLAND, OR — Following an established seasonal pattern, spot market freight volume declined 15 percent in November from the month before, largely due to a drop in demand for flatbed trucks, but there were slight improvements in rates.

That’s according to the just released DAT North American Freight Index, reflecting spot market freight availability on the DAT Solutions network of load boards in Canada and the U.S.

Freight volume has declined in November in every year except 2012 according to the DAT North American Freight Index, which has recorded monthly spot market freight levels since 1997.

By equipment type, van freight availability declined a modest 2.9 percent, while flatbed trailers lost 39 percent, but refrigerated volume increased 9.1 percent, compared to October.

Spot market rates edged up 0.7 percent for vans and 0.6 percent for reefers, month-over-month as flatbed rates declined 4.0 percent, due to seasonal pressure.

When comparing last month to November 2014, overall freight availability slid 45 percent.

Although November volume was lower than same-month levels of the past five years, strong volume from the first half of this year boosted volume for the year to-date, according to DAT. That total was higher than the comparable period in any year prior to 2013.

By equipment type, van demand was down 43 percent, flatbed volume fell 53 percent, and reefer freight availability lost 41 percent, compared to November 2014. 

Line haul rates declined 8.6 percent for vans, 7.2 percent for flatbeds, and 11 percent for reefers, year-over-year. Total rates paid to the carrier declined by 17 percent, however, due to a 49 percent decline in the fuel surcharge, which comprises a portion of the rate.

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