Spot market truckload freight volumes dropped 2 percent in June from May but remained at record high levels, according to the DAT North American Freight Index.
The DAT index increased 6.3 percent year-over-year last month, following a 25 percent annualized increase in May and a 17 percent year-over-year jump in April.
The month-to-month decrease likely reflects slower economic growth, though spot market freight volumes were still close to a single-month record set in May.
“This is only the second time in the past 10 years that spot market freight volume declined between May and June,” TransCore DAT said in a statement.
Typically, the DAT index peaks in June, increasing on average 12 percent over May. The index reflects spot market freight on DAT load boards in the U.S. and Canada.
Weaker overall demand last month may have freed up capacity in the contract truckload market, drawing some freight back from spot market load boards.
The truckload spot market typically surges when carrier capacity tightens, sending shippers to load boards to find available tractor-trailers for their freight.
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.
However, capacity at truckload carriers remains tight overall. Available capacity at a truckload group tracked by The Journal of Commerce dropped in the first quarter.
Despite the slowdown, spot rates climbed 4.4 percent for van trailers, 3.4 percent for flatbeds and 7.9 percent for refrigerated vans in June from May, DAT said.