Truck freight brokers moved 10 percent more loads per month in 2010 than in 2009, underscoring growing use of brokers by shippers, according to TransCore.
The average number of brokered loads per month rose from 616 in 2009 to 685 in 2010, with average margins ranging from 14.6 percent to 15 percent.
Brokers paid more to move that freight for customers, however, and found it increasingly hard to locate and secure truckload capacity, TransCore said.
By the Numbers: U.S. IMC Highway Yield
The average spot market line haul rate for dry van trailers rose to $1.23 per mile, a 9.8 percent increase over 2009, according to TransCore's Broker Benchmark Survey.
The average contract rate for the same equipment rose much more moderately last year, climbing only 1.2 percent from $1.39 to $1.41 per mile, the study said.
TransCore released its fourth annual Broker Benchmark Survey at the Transportation Intermediaries Association annual conference in Florida last week.
The transportation services company, which operates several load-matching services, said the availability of spot market trucks dropped 27 percent last year.
The ratio of spot freight loads per available truck shifted from 1.8 to 1 in 2009 to 5.5 to 1 in 2010, boosted by a 131 percent year-over-year increase in spot loads.
Brokers shifted more truck freight to intermodal rail last year, taking advantage of improvements in intermodal service and shorter-haul intermodal lanes.
The survey respondents indicated 3 percent of their freight was shipped by intermodal in 2010, compared with less than 1 percent in 2009.
More freight moved shorter distances as well, as shippers shifted more long-haul freight to intermodal. The average length of haul for a brokered load was 861 miles.
Nearly half the brokers surveyed said truck capacity is their chief concern in 2011, while last year's respondents were more worried about growing their business.