The DAT North American Freight Index fell 16.5 percent year-over-year in April 2013, down to 1488, compared with a record April high in 2012, according to the latest release from DAT. This is the third straight month of declines.
The current spot market freight volume slipped roughly 6 percent from the month before. This is contrary to the normal trend of month-to-month increases during this time of the year. DAT suggests it could be due to Midwest flooding. “In addition to the flooding, there's the shift of the Easter holiday from April in 2012 to March in 2013, as a lot of retail business moves with the holiday,” said JOC Senior Editor of Trucking and Domestic Transportation William B. Cassidy. Volume for the first four months of 2013 was 0.1 percent lower than in the same period in 2012.
On a year-over-year basis, spot market freight volumes of the three major equipment types declined in April: flatbed freight fell 15 percent, vanload freight volume dropped 20 percent and refrigerated trailer volume loads declined 10 percent. When compared to April 2012, spot market rates declined for vans and flatbeds by 0.8 percent and 5.3 percent, but reefer rates rose 2 percent.
The U.S. average spot market line-haul rate for dry vans rose 1.6 percent or 2 cents in April over the month before, but it fell 0.8 percent year-over-year. The load-to truck ratio slipped seven-tenths of a point or 25 percent from March to 2.1 available loads per truck, putting it down 43.4 percent year-over-year.