July Spot Truckload Volume, Rates Return to Earth

Spot market freight availability dropped sharply in July, returning to typical seasonal levels after an all-time peak in June.

Dat Freight Index

Spot market freight availability dropped sharply in July, returning to typical seasonal levels after an all-time peak in June, according to DAT Solutions, which operates North America’s largest load board marketplace and DAT Freight Index, a monthly indicator of spot market trucking. 

Spot truckload freight volume fell 29 percent month-over-month but increased 3.4 percent compared to July 2017. The decline brings freight levels in line with July volumes in 2017 and 2014, the previous record-holders on the DAT Freight Index

"Spot market rates did not drop as much as we would expect in July,” explains Mark Montague, pricing analyst at DAT. “Going forward, rate trends are likely to follow a normal seasonal pattern but at a level that’s 25 to 30 percent higher than in 2017."

Compared to June, the national average spot van rate fell 2 cents to $2.29 per mile, while the flatbed rate slid 5 cents to $2.77. Rates for refrigerated “reefer” equipment dropped steeply, down 9 cents to $2.61 per mile, as produce season wound down in California. Spot reefer and flatbed rates both exceeded the comparable contract rates. The average contract reefer rate rose 3 cents to $2.59 per mile, while the contract flatbed rate lost 5 cents to $2.73. Compared to July 2017, the average spot rate for van equipment was 51 cents per mile higher last month, the reefer rate was up 54 cents, and the flatbed rate was 60 cents higher.