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Indicators: Spot market freight slipped in August amid seasonal lull

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

DAT Freight Index 2014-2018Spot market freight availability dropped for the second straight month in August, according to DAT’s monthly North American Freight Index, with the dip due mostly to a decline in shipper demand for flatbed.

Dry van’s annual seasonal lull also contributed to the late-summer slump, DAT says. Reefer, meanwhile, surged to near record levels.

“August was the strongest month this year for the number of loads that moved on the spot market, according to the DAT RateView database,” explained DAT pricing analyst Mark Montague. “However, the volume of loads posted to the DAT load board marketplace actually decreased because 3PLs and freight brokers were able to find trucks more efficiently.”

August was the first month this year that DAT’s Freight Index fell on a year-over-year basis. The year-over-year decline in load posting activity is likely to persist through September, DAT notes, as spot market demand in September 2017 was inflated by massive supply chain disruptions caused by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

A strong holiday freight season this year should again boost spot market demand compared to 2017 levels, DAT says.

National average spot market rates in August slipped a few cents lower compared to July but remained 20 percent above August 2017 averages for all equipment types.

Indicators: Spot market rates soften some after historic summer run

Rates surged in April, May and June, cresting at record highs in June before receding some in July and August.

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