Following an established seasonal pattern, spot market freight volume declined 15 percent in November, month over month, largely due to a drop in demand for flatbed trucks. 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.
Compared to October, the availability of van freight declined a modest 2.9 percent, flatbed volume lost 39 percent, and refrigerated (reefer) volume increased 9.1 percent. Spot market rates edged up 0.7 percent for vans and 0.6 percent for reefers, month over month. Flatbed rates declined 4.0 percent, however, due to seasonal pressure.
Overall freight availability on the spot market slid 45 percent compared to record demand of November 2014. 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. That total was higher than the comparable period in any year prior to 2013.
Compared to November 2014, van demand was down 43 percent, flatbed volume fell 53 percent, and reefer freight availability lost 41 percent last month. 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.
Intermediaries and carriers across North America listed more than 120 million loads and trucks last year on the DAT Network of load boards. As a result of this high volume, the DAT Freight Index is representative of the ups and downs in North American spot market freight movement.
Reference rates are the averages, by equipment type, of thousands of actual rate agreements between freight brokers and carriers, as recorded in DAT RateView. Rates are cited for line haul only, excluding fuel surcharges, except where noted. The monthly DAT North American Freight Index reflects spot market freight availability on the DAT Network of load boards in the United States and Canada. Beginning in January 2015, the DAT Index was rebased so that 100 on the Index represents the average monthly volume in the year 2000. Additional trends and analysis are available at DAT Trendlines.