Indicators: Freight volume on the upswing

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Updated Jan 13, 2017

CCJ‘s Indicators rounds up the latest reports on trucking business indicators on rates, freight, equipment, the economy and more.

Datfreightindex 2017 01 12 10 57Spot market freight up for sixth straight month: Truckload freight volume rose 8 percent in December from November, according to DAT’s North American Freight Index, marking the sixth consecutive month for spot market freight growth, says DAT. E-commerce and grocery items were the main drivers of December’s freight uptick.

Van freight surged in the month, climbing 10 percent from November and 5.2 percent from last December. The load-to-truck ratio for the segment also shot up, DAT notes, to 3.8 loads per truck — an imbalance that should put upward pressure on rates, DAT says.

Reefer freight volume hit its highest mark in nearly two years. The load-to-truck ratio in the segment grew to 8.2 percent in the month. Reefer volume was up 55 percent from the same month in 2015.

Flatbed demand dipped 2.3 percent month to month and 48 percent from December 2015.

2016’s strong second half wasn’t able to make up for first-half freight losses, however. DAT says spot market freight volume in 2016 was down 7.7 percent from 2015.

Tsi Nov2011 Nov2016 2017 01 12 10 57DOT also reports freight boost: The DOT’s monthly Freight Transportation Services Index, which measures the amount of freight carried by for-hire transportation across all modes, rose half a percent in November from October and 2 percent from November 2015. The DOT did not release modal specific trends with this report, but it did say trucking saw a freight uptick. Year to date, freight was up 1.5 percent through November from the same period in 2015, the DOT reports.