September saw record spot market freight volume, increasing 32 percent compared to September 2013, according to the DAT North American Freight Index, an indicator of truckload freight demand and capacity. In fact, there were 14 consecutive months of year-over-year peaks for spot freight. Compared to September 2013, freight volume rose for all three of the following categories in the United States: dry vans (42 percent), refrigerated ("reefer") (24 percent) and flatbed (46 percent).
As a national average, truckload spot market rates also increased for all three equipment types. Van rates rose 15 percent, while rates for reefers and flatbeds both increased 16 percent.
However, overall freight availability in September declined 5.5 percent compared to August—which is typical for the season. Freight volume increased 3.0 percent for vans but fell 4.1 percent seasonally for reefers and 12 percent for flatbeds. Van rates increased 2.0 percent and reefer rates rose 2.8 percent while flatbed rates slipped 2.1 percent, month over month.
Reference rates are derived from DAT RateView. Rates are cited for line haul only, excluding fuel surcharges, which declined on both a month-over-month and year-over-year basis.