The TransCore DAT North American Freight Index fell in February, returning it to post-recession levels after an “unusually robust” January.
Freight availability fell 2.5 percent year-over-year in February, the first drop since October 2012. The index also dropped 14.3 percent from January’s level. Despite this decline, freight volume for the first two months of 2013 is still over 17 percent higher than in the same period in 2012 thanks to January’s irregular jump.
On a month-to-month basis, the volume of two of the three major equipment types also fell. Van loads dropped 11 percent, and reefer freight volume slid 15 percent. Flatbed freight availability remained flat. Compared with February 2012, freight volume rose 7.6 percent for vans and 7.2 percent for reefers, while flatbed volume fell 11 percent, which is normal for this time of year.
The U.S. average spot market line haul rate for dry vans rose almost 1 percent or 1 cent in February over the month before. The rate was up 1.6 percent year-over-year. The load-to truck ratio has dropped one-tenth of a point or 6 percent since January; it was down 2.3 percent compared to February 2012.