Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!

DAT reports a return to normal spot market activity in February

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
March 27, 2013

Spot market patterns returned to a more normal—or post-recession—pace in February, according to data released by DAT, a subsidiary of Portland, Oregon-based TransCore.

Coming off of a highly impressive January which saw a 42 percent annual gain and a 24 percent sequential gain over December, marking the first time since DAT launched its index that freight availability rose from December to January, February was more in line with typical seasonal patterns.

For specific trucking segments, DAT reported the following sequential and annual data:
-van loads increased 7.6 percent and -11 percent annually
-reefer freight volume rose 7.2 percent and -15 percent annually; and
-flatbed freight availability was -11 percent and flat annually

DAT noted that a surge in freight for vans and reefers at the end of February served as a driver for the 7.6 percent and 7.2 percent sequential gains.

As for spot market rates, which David Schrader, senior vice president of DAT’s freight matching business, said did not increase in tandem with volumes in January, February was a mixed bag.

February van rates inched up 0.8 percent sequentially and were up 1.6 percent annually. Reefers dipped 6.0 percent sequentially and saw a 2.9 percent annual uptick, with flatbeds up 2.0 percent sequentially and down 7.5 percent annually.

“We thought February was more of a January story than a February story, as it was coming off of such elevated levels in January,” said Schrader. “February really came down to what we consider more typical volumes for the month, but they are still healthy. Over the last three years February 2011 was the highest volume for a February, followed by 2012 and 2013. It is still healthy relative to our history and was a solid freight month.”

As for March to date, Schrader said that it looks like March volume and rate data will be comparable to March 2012, with freight volume expected to be modestly down, due to March 2012 having 22 business days and March 2013 having 21.

As for signs of increasing volume between now and mid-2013, which could benefit from things like improved housing data, some retail sales growth, and new orders on the manufacturing side, and also serve as a harbinger for the future, he explained there is some reason for optimism, especially with housing now serving as more of a tailwind than a headwind.  Even with the federal budget sequester actions having the potential to limit future volume gains, Schrader said there are more positive than negative economic signs at the moment.

Mark Montague, DAT’s industry pricing analyst and chief market-watcher, said that current oil and gas trends could also provide some uplift for future volume gains over a multi-year span, with that occurring in the middle part of the country, whereas the southern region of Texas is experiencing its grapefruit harvest, and California and southern Florida produce is also on schedule.

“Right now, things look pretty normal and rates are not doing anything spectacular,” he said. “But they are creeping up, which is a normal year trend.

About the Author

Jeff Berman headshot
Jeff Berman
Group News Editor

Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Subscribe to Logistics Management magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your
entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

Seasonally-adjusted (SA) for-hire truck tonnage in October at 135.7 (2000=100) was up 1.9 percent compared to September’s 133.1, and the ATA’s not seasonally-adjusted (NSA) index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by fleets before any seasonal adjustment was 139.8 in October, which was 0.9 percent ahead of September.

The average price per gallon of diesel gasoline fell 3.7 cents to $2.445 per gallon, according to data issued today by the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA). This marks the lowest weekly price for diesel since June 1, 2009, when it was at $2.352 per gallon.

In its report, entitled “Grey is the new Black,” JLL takes a close look at supply chain-related trends that can influence retailers’ approaches to Black Friday.

This year, it's all about the digital supply network. In this virtual conference, we will define the challenges currently facing supply chain organizations and offer solutions designed to transform linear operations into dynamic, automated networks that offer seamless communication, visibility, and the ability to respond and optimize processes at any given time.

In his opening comments assessing the economy at last week’s RailTrends conference hosted by Progressive Railroading magazine and independent railroad analyst Tony Hatch, FTR Senior analyst Larry Gross said the economy continues to slog ahead at a relatively tepid pace, coupled with some volatility in terms of overall GDP growth. And amid that slogging, Gross said there is currently an economic hand-off occurring between the industrial sector and the consumer sector.

Article Topics

News · DAT · TransCore · All topics


Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.

© Copyright 2015 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA