Freight volumes on the truckload spot market declined in February for a second consecutive month. The decline is part of a normal seasonal pattern and mirrored activity during the first quarter of 2013, the most recent February period that showed normal shipping patterns. The data comes a monthly index that tracks spot market conditions in North America, published by consultancy DAT Solutions.
Month-over-month volumes dipped 6 percent in February. However, February 2015 volumes were 37 percent below those of February 2014, according to DAT. And that's despite the terrible winter weather that paralyzed the operations of many trucking fleets in 2014.
Freight volume in February by equipment type declined sequentially by 3.9 percent for vans, 3.4 percent for flatbeds and 18 percent for refrigerated equipment, or reefers. Sequential spot truckload rates declined 1.9 percent for vans, 3.2 percent for flatbeds and 5.2 percent for reefers.
Compared to February 2014, when demand far exceeded capacity, freight volume by equipment type declined last month by 34 percent for vans, 45 percent for flatbeds and 15 percent for reefers.
In what might be considered a statistical oddity given the surge in rates during the 2014 winter, line-haul rates last month trended up year-over-year. DAT said the increase was due to carriers compensating for a significant decline in fuel surcharges. Van rates added 6.7 percent, reefer rates increased 7.7 percent and flatbed rates rose 8.4 percent, year over year.