The volume of truckload freight offered on the spot market rose 1.1 percent in August from July and increased 8.4 percent from a year ago, according to TransCore’s DAT North American Freight Index.
The increase was a positive sign that the economy, although growing more slowly in 2012, is still expanding. The Commerce Department Thursday said wholesale inventories increased 0.7 percent in July from June and were up 5.3 percent year-over-year, perhaps a factor in driving more freight to the spot market in August.
The 1.1 percent sequential monthly increase in the trucking index in August followed a 20 percent month-to-month decline in volume in July, a typical seasonal pattern for spot market freight demand, according to TransCore DAT.
Year-over-year, the index rose 12 percent in July. The TransCore DAT index has exceeded previous year same-month highs six times in 2012, indicating that on the spot market the freight economy is still expanding at healthy annualized rates.
The index increased 6.3 percent year-over-year in June, 25 percent in May and 17 percent in April. On a sequential monthly basis, the index decreased in June and July, after hitting an all-time high in May, according to TransCore DAT.
The spot market expansion tracked by the industry may be related to tightening capacity at truckload carriers under contract with shippers. As carrier capacity tightens, shippers turn to load boards to find available tractor-trailers.
Truckload capacity reached what’s widely been called a “tenuous equilibrium” in the first half of 2012, as the economy slowed and freight demand contracted.