DAT reports spot market freight availability is back at seasonal norms

Data recently published by Portland, Oregon-based freight marketplace platform and information provider DAT, a subsidiary of Roper Technologies showed something atypical in the 2018 spot market, with a decline in spot market freight availability from June to July on the heels of an all-time high in June.

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Data recently published by Portland, Oregon-based freight marketplace platform and information provider DAT, a subsidiary of Roper Technologies showed something atypical in the 2018 spot market, with a decline in spot market freight availability from June to July on the heels of an all-time high in June.

The company reported that spot truckload freight volume dropped 29% from June to July, while heading up 3.4% compared to July 2017. DAT said that the sequential decline puts July freight levels on part with July 2017 and July 2014 volumes, which are previous record holders.

“Spot market rates did not drop as much as we would expect in July,” said Mark Montague, pricing analyst at DAT, in a statement. “Going forward, rate trends are likely to follow a normal seasonal pattern but at a level that’s 25 to 30 percent higher than in 2017.”

DAT’s chief takeaways for spot market data from June to July include:

  • July’s national national average spot van rate fell 2 cents to $2.29 per mile, and the flatbed rate fell 5 cents to $2.77;-rates for refrigerated (“reefer”) equipment were down 9 cents to $2.61 per mile, as produce season wound down in California;
  • spot reefer and flatbed rates each topped comparable contract rates, with the average contract reefer rate up 3 cents to $2.59 per mile and the contract flatbed rate down 5 cents to $2.73; and
  • compared to July 2017, the average spot rate for van equipment was up 51 cents, the reefer rate was up 54 cents, and the flatbed rate was up 60 cents

As previously reported, even with some sequential declines, over all spot market conditions remain in line with the strong rate momentum that has been evident in 2018.

The healthy market is reflective of various ongoing factors, including tight capacity, solid economic demand, and a lack of drivers, among others.

Montague recently said these numbers present a working thesis that things are rolling along with no visible end in sight.

“It is really one of the most remarkable freight periods since deregulation in 1980,” said Montague. “The question is where do you find truck drivers and capacity to restore more equilibrium. How do you get back to that?”

Addressing the tight capacity, Montague said it is important to remember that demand peaks before rates peak, with rates tending to stay up, even as things start to cool off at times, depending on sector. Reefer, he said, is an example of that, as there is now less urgency compared to before July 4.

Montague said that August’s data will be very telling in light of recent trade and tariff developments, adding that it remains to be seen if it will slow down the strong market, as there are a lot of domestic drivers like oil and gas and pipeline construction that are doing very well with many projects underway in the southeastern U.S.


About the Author

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. Contact Jeff Berman

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Article Topics

Capacity · DAT · Spot Market · Trucking · All Topics
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