The TransCore DAT North American Freight Index stood at 1579 in March, putting it up 18 percent from the beginning of 2013 but down 4.5 percent year-over-year. This is the highest index level since June 2012.
The current spot market freight volume jumped 37 percent from the month before, which is standard for this time of year, according to the latest release from TransCore DAT. During the past ten years, volume has increased by an average of 42 percent from February to March, according to the release.
Volume for the first quarter of 2013 was 7.7 percent higher than in the first quarter of 2012. This was mostly due to an “unusually robust” January.
On a month-to-month basis, volumes of the three major equipment types grew in March due to seasonality: flatbed freight jumped 48 percent, van loads increased 26 percent and refrigerated trailer volume rose 33 percent. When compared with March 2012, freight volume climbed 1.5 percent for vans and 3.6 percent for reefers, while flatbed volume declined 11 percent.
The U.S. average spot market line haul rate for dry vans rose 2.4 percent or 3 cents in March over the month before. The rate was up 2.4 percent year-over-year as well. The load-to truck-ratio rose two-tenths of a point or 7.5 percent over February to 2.5 available loads per truck, although it was down 23.2 percent year-over-year. TransCore attributed the month-to-month increase to “weather, increased economic activity and the higher number of working days in March than in February.”