Spot TL Freight at Record High

Truckload Freight Activity Hits Record High

The June Freight Index increased 24% compared to May and was up 57% year over year, capping a robust first half of the year.

In June, spot truckload freight activity rallied to record highs for the number of available loads while rates rose to their highest points in nearly two years, according to the DAT North American Freight Index.

The June Freight Index increased 24% compared to May and was up 57% year over year, capping a robust first half of the year.

Reference rates are the averages, by equipment type, based on $33 billion of actual transactions between freight brokers and carriers, as recorded in DAT RateView. Reference rates per mile include fuel surcharges, but not accessorials or other fees. Beginning in January 2015, the DAT Freight 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.

Van freight activity jumped 35% compared to May and 68% year over year. Refrigerated (“reefer”) freight made similar gains, up 23% compared to May and 66% year over year.

Flatbed freight, which includes construction materials and machinery, showed more modest gains. Activity increased 14% compared to May. Year-over-year gains were more substantial for flatbeds, up 66% compared to June 2016.

Brokers and shippers had a harder time finding trucks and paid a premium in most major markets and lanes. Compared to May, the van rate gained 11 cents to $1.80 per mile while the reefer rate was up 10 cents to $2.12 per mile. The flatbed rate was $2.16 per mile, up 6 cents month over month.

Spot truckload rates incorporate a fuel surcharge which is tied to the average price of on-highway diesel which has fallen 7 cents per gallon since the start of 2017.

“Spot rates have remained strong for all three equipment types even though the surcharge portion has been shrinking compared to previous years,” said Mark Montague, DAT industry pricing analyst.

He added that July typically is a month of transition, when freight activity begins tapering off until the end-of-year holiday season. This year may be an exception, however, as load availability and pricing trends remained strong in the first week of July. 

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