PORTLAND, Ore. — Total February truckload freight volume increased 48 percent from the same month last year, DAT Solutions reported yesterday. However, the DAT North American Freight Index fell 13 percent to 345 and spot truckload rates fell across the board compared to January. An influx of capacity from contract carriers held down spot van and refrigerated freight rates.
“Volume on the spot market in February was robust for what is traditionally a slow month for freight,” said Don Thornton, senior vice president, DAT Solutions. “The strong freight volumes attracted an unusual number of contract carriers, and the added capacity helped keep rates down on many high-traffic van and reefer lanes until late in February, when national average contract rates began to firm up.”
The national average spot van rate was $1.62 per mile including a fuel surcharge, down 5 cents from January, while the average reefer rate was $1.86 per mile, 9 cents off the previous month. However, by the last week of February, load-to-truck ratios were up sharply and spot rates had increased week over week, DAT reported.
Although month-over-month spot van and reefer load posts declined in February, demand for flatbed trucks rose 27 percent. The flatbed load-to-truck ratio was 26.6, meaning there were 26.6 available flatbed loads for each truck on the DAT network, the company stated.
“Flatbed freight includes building materials and heavy machinery,” Thornton said. “High volume indicates activity in construction and energy sectors in particular, as drillers take advantage of crude prices that have been mostly over $50 a barrel since OPEC agreed to cut supplies in late November.”
The national average spot flatbed rate was $1.96 per mile, 4 cents higher than in January.
Reference rates are the averages, by equipment type, based on $33 billion of actual transactions between freight brokers and carriers, DAT stated.
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