The capacity challenges caused by extreme weather in January caused the spot market for freight availability to rise 24%, exceeding December levels for only the second time since the DAT North American Freight Index began monitoring these numbers in 1996.
More freight flowed into the spot market in both December and January as shippers and their contracted carriers struggled to meet capacity challenges caused by extreme weather, the Index shows. Year-over-year freight volumes were up 45% to a level not seen since October 2005, when pent-up demand in the wake of Hurricane Katrina drove volume to an all-time high. Van freight increased 52%; reefer loads added 83%, and flatbed freight nearly doubled, with a 93% increase, compared to January 2013.
Load availability in January rose 21% for both vans and reefers, while flatbed loads increased 33%, compared to the prior month.
Rates in the spot market also remained unusually high in January, despite a slight decline from December. Average rates dipped 1.4% for vans, 0.6% for reefers and 5.5% for flatbeds. Compared to January 2013, rates rose 16% for vans, 4.7% for reefers, and 4.0% for flatbeds.