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July spot market freight volumes top June, reports DAT

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
August 19, 2013

Data recently issued by DAT, a subsidiary of Portland, Oregon-based TransCore, found that spot market freight volumes as reported by DAT’s North American Freight Index were up 0.5 percent in July.

While the gain was minimal, DAT said that this marked the first time July topped June since the index was launched in 1996, with the firm adding that freight volume typically trends down from June to July, with the average June to July decline more than 20 percent over the last decade.

DAT officials said that this occurrence is due in part to pent-up demand for flatbeds because of weather-related delays in housing starts and a robust harvest which contributed to July demand for refrigerated trailers in the West and Midwest regions.

“What we saw in July can be viewed as exceptional, considering the high level of sequential declines we usually see and expect for that period,” said David Schrader, senior vice president of DAT’s freight matching business, in an interview.

For July, DAT reported that flatbed loads were up 6.0 percent, reefer freight availability was up 1.8 percent, and van loads fell 6.2 percent on a sequential basis.

The firm added that year-over-year freight availability increased 13 percent as volume for all equipment types was up, with flatbed volume, reefer loads, and van freight up 20 percent, 26 percent, and 6.8 percent when compared to July 2012.

Spot market rates in July, which typically decline for the month as capacity becomes available in certain parts of the country, mostly followed that trend, with flatbed rates up 1.2 percent but vans were down 0.7 percent, and reefers dipped 3.4 percent, due to more truckload capacity coming online to meet seasonal demand.

Compared to 2012, DAT said that flatbed and van rates dropped 6.7 percent and 2.1 percent, respectively, on an annual basis while reefer rates headed up 1.2 percent.

Schrader said that the decline in flatbed and van rates was expected largely because of the record-level rates that occurred in July 2012. And so far in August he said there is a bit of a rebound taking place for both flatbed and reefer rates in terms of volumes.

“We are seeing acceleration in August on an annual basis,” he said. “It is very strong relative to August 2012, which was more of a typical freight shipping season, whereas it seems more elongated this year, due to what happened with weather-related housing starts and growing season in the Midwest. Another factor is the impact of motor carrier Hours-of-Service, which is likely in the mix as well.”

About the Author

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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).

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