Truckload spot market freight volume reached pre-recession levels in March, climbing 259 percent from a year ago and 14 percent from March 2008, according to TransCore’s North American Freight Index. The index broke 1,000 for the first time since June 2008.
It was the sixth straight month of positive year-over-year comparisons in the index, which is based on millions of spot truckloads and available trucks fed into TransCore’s DAT Network -- a load board for shippers and carriers in the United States and Canada.
March’s spot freight also exceeded February’s volume by 44 percent. A month-over-month increase is typical in this season, and this month approached the five-year average increase of 46.6 percent between the two corresponding months of 2005 through 2009.
The spot market index supports truckload carrier claims of higher volumes in recent weeks and months. “We exceeded our goals for the first time in 18 months in March,” Pat Quinn, co-chairman of U.S. Xpress Enterprises, told The Journal of Commerce.
“We’re definitely seeing a pickup in demand, though I’m not sure if it’s the economy picking up or the result of 15 percent of the available trucks being taken out of service,” said Quinn, whose company operates about 6,000 tractor-trailers nationwide.
“Inventories are still at record lows, and shippers have learned to do more with less.”
The strength of the spot market measured by TransCore’s index is underscored by quarterly results, as well. Total spot freight volume more than tripled in the first quarter of 2010 over the same period in 2009 and was 11 percent higher than in 2008.
The spot market results for the 2010 quarter exceeded first quarter results for every year since 2004, when volume was 4.5 percent higher.
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