Spot Freight Rates Improving

In January, spot market freight volume declined seasonally, falling 11% from an abnormal December high.

Volume also collapsed 27% compared to the same time in 2014. It was the first time in 19 months, which the year-over-year declined for the index that measures truckload freight demand and capacity,

Freight volume by equipment type fell 18% for vans, 3.1% for flatbeds, and 2.5% for refrigerated trailers, in January compared to December of 2014. While the average flatbed rate was unchanged, truckload freight rates on the spot market drifted down 3.6% for vans and 3.1% for reefers.

When January 2015 is compared to January 2014 freight volume by equipment type declined 27% for vans, 35% for flatbeds, and 0.7% for reefers. Extraordinary market conditions are what caused these drops last year.

In contrast, rates trended up, out of the three equipment types vans increased the most by 15%, followed by flatbeds adding 7.9% and reefer rates gaining 3.8%, year-over-year. Monthly average van rates have increased year-over-year for the 19th consecutive month, while flatbed and reefer rates have trended up every month since the end of 2013.

The rates that are cited are for line haul only, not including fuel surcharges, which declined on both a month-over-month and year-over-year basis.