Spot market activity continues run of strong months in November, reports DAT

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November marked another solid month for spot market activity, according to data issued by DAT Solutions, a subsidiary of Roper Industries.

With spot market load volume and rates having risen for 18 months, DAT said November continued to impress, with the national average spot van rate hitting $2.07 per mile, which, it said, is the single highest monthly average going back to December 2014, while coming in 5 cents above October’s average.

Other key November metrics cited by DAT include:

  • the average reefer rate climbing 11 cents, with shippers looking for trucks to move retail freight in advance of the holidays;
  • truckload freight availability was up 39% annually;
  • overall load volume fell 13% from October to November in what DAT called a typical seasonal decline;
  • the number of van loads decreased 5%, and reefer loads rose 4% from October to November; and
  • the number of available van loads was down 26% in November, which matches up with seasonal expectations, while the national average flatbed rate dipped 3 cents on the spot market to $2.30 per mile

“Demand for spot truckload services has been at an all-time high since August, and November continues that trend again, despite seasonal declines,” said Mark Montague, DAT industry analyst, in a statement. “Increased freight activity, higher fuel prices, and uncertainty surrounding the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate all contribute to this pressure on rates, which are expected to remain elevated through the end of the year and beyond.”

In a November interview with LM, Montague said that things have been moving rapidly on the spot market since early September.

“We saw a bit of an uptick earlier in the year, with the expectation in the industry that capacity was really going to tighten,” he said. “And following the hurricanes there were some questions as to if things would tail off or perhaps there being a lull in freight. But what we [saw in mid-November were] record-setting numbers in our RateView product, which counts the physical loads of moves, as opposed to load posting, which saw a high number of loads being posted.”

With the pending ELD mandate taking effect on December 18, Montague said the industry was at around 50% adoption as of late September, adding that while that number is slowly climbing it will not be anywhere near 100% by December 18.

Eileen Hart, DAT vice president of marketing and corporate communications, said that a high percentage of carriers yet to comply with ELD are the smaller ones.

“Rates are high, market conditions are good, and trucking companies are making good money right now,” she noted. “Although carriers are mad about more regulations and don’t want to implement ELD, most will go ahead and do it, and will wait and see how it goes, as they are out there doing well.”

And as long as carriers are profitable, she said DAT does not see people leaving the business. What’s more, she said he largest and most progressive carriers have adopted ELD technology and are through what she called the “transition pain” and know what it’s like to manage capacity on a tighter schedule.

“A lot has been said about the potential productivity loss but also about how over time it improves, and now there are a lot more people out there now that will have to go through that same transition,” she said. 

About the Author

Jeff Berman, Group News Editor

Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. Contact Jeff Berman

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