NEW PLYMOUTH, Idaho — Spot rates and volumes in the Truckstop system performed according to expectations during the first week of 2023, which ended Jan. 6.
Load activity rose sharply and rates plummeted following the December holidays, according to a news release.
Spot rates fell in all segments.
Data from Truckstop and FTR Transportation Intelligence shows that the spot market continues to operate according to expectations.
The final two weeks of 2022 led to increases in broker-posted van segment rates as usually happens in late December, and the first week of January saw a notable drop in rates as usual.
Total spot volume jumped 27.3%.
Volume was 52% below the same week in 2022 and almost 13% below the five-year average for the week.
Load activity shot up in all regions, led by the Midwest. Truck availability rose by 16.6% after the large drop during the holidays, and the Market Demand Index — the ratio of loads to trucks — rose to its highest level since June.
The total broker-posted spot market rate fell nearly 13 cents. Rates were almost 18% below the same week in 2022 but nearly 6% above the five-year average for the week. FTR estimates that rates excluding a calculated fuel surcharge were more than 26% below the 2022 week.
Even so, dry van and, especially, refrigerated rates started 2023 well above their pre-holiday levels. Further moderation in January would be the norm absent a disruption, such as extreme and widespread winter weather. Flatbed rates are where they sat before the holidays after declines in the last two weeks.
Flatbed spot rates declined more than seven cents. Rates were about 12% below the same week in 2022 but nearly 9% above the five-year average for the week. Excluding an imputed surcharge, flatbed rates were about 21% below the same week last year. Flatbed loads surged nearly 56% to the highest level since early November. Volume was more than 58% below the same 2022 week and nearly 32% below the five-year average for the week.
Refrigerated and dry van rates remain well above pre-holiday levels, but flatbed spot rate declines in the past two weeks offset gains in the two prior weeks. Flatbed and dry vans saw sharp increases in volume, but refrigerated loads were down slightly.
Refrigerated spot rates fell almost 19 cents after surging more than 67 cents in the final two weeks of 2022. Rates were nearly 23% below the same week in 2022 but 6% above the five-year average for the week. Rates excluding fuel surcharges were about 30% below the same 2022 week. Refrigerated loads surged and declined 4% after rising for three straight weeks. Volume was 53% below the same 2022 week and about 4% below the five-year average for the week.
Dry van spot rates declined nearly 5 cents after rising more than 24 cents in the final two weeks of 2022. Rates were about 22% below the same week in 2022 and more than 1% above the five-year average for the week. Dry van rates excluding a fuel surcharge were 32% lower than in the same 2022 week. Dry van loads rose 30%. Volume was about 50% below the same week in 2022 and about 3% below the five-year average for the week.
Spot volume also largely followed seasonal expectations with a large rebound. Although refrigerated volume eased somewhat, it continued to rise through the holidays unlike dry van and flatbed. Although flatbed load activity is running far below comparable 2022 and five-year average levels, volume in the latest week was the strongest since early November.
Truck postings rose for the first time in five weeks but were outpaced by the gain in volume. The Market Demand Index increased to 89.3, which is the strongest level since June.
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