Truck freight volume in June hits new highs as high-end product shipments drive fuel demand


PORTLAND, Oregon, – Truckload freight volumes hit new highs in June and spot and contract rates remained at record highs as rising retail imports and peak shipments fueled demand for transportation services, according to DAT Freight & Analytics, operator of the largest truckload marketplace in North America.

The DAT Truckload Volume Index was 237 in June, an 11% increase from May and a record high. The index is an aggregated measure of dry truck, reefer and flatbed cargoes carried by truck load carriers and is an industry indicator of commercial freight activity. A base value of 100 reflects the freight volume in January 2015.

Interest rates remain near all-time highs

  • The national average price for transporter loads in the DAT One on-board network was USD 2.68 per mile in June, 1 cent less than the all-time high in May (all prices include a fuel surcharge).
  • The national average spot price for refrigerated freight fell 1 cent month-on-month to $ 3.10 per mile, while the flatbed tariff rose 3 cents to $ 3.15.
  • Contract truck load rates set records for all three types of equipment. The average van price was $ 2.73 per mile, up 6 cents from May. The contract refrigeration tariff increased 3 cents to $ 2.88 per mile, while the flatbed tariff increased 7 cents to $ 3.10 per mile.

Spot load bookings are falling as more cargo is moved under contract

  • While the truck load volume increased last month, the number of loads booked in the DAT One network decreased by 6.0% compared to May. This marked a shift towards more cargo transported on a contract or other basis.
  • The number of trucks available on DAT One increased by 13.2% compared to May. Although capacity remains tight, there are signs that workers are returning to the industry, with 24,500 new transport jobs added in June.
  • As there are fewer individual loads and more trucks available, the load-to-truck ratio has decreased for all three types of equipment. The nationwide average van quota was 5.6 in June, meaning that for every van sent to the DAT network there were 5.6 available loads, up from 6.1 in May. The reefer rate was 11.6 versus 13.0 and the flatbed rate fell from 97.1 in May to 66.8 last month.

In June, shippers faced a supply-related capacity crisis, said Ken Adamo, chief of analytics at DAT: “While the number of trucks in the DAT on-board charging network increased significantly in June, overall demand accelerated faster. The typical seasonal decline in contract and spot prices from now through Thanksgiving is less likely in 2021. “

Outlook July

  • Spot truck load rates typically drop after the July 4th holidays as back-to-school and back-to-office retail goods are already positioned and the production season has passed its peak. In some cases, refrigerated trucks will move to transporting dry trucks and other types of cargo, which could take the burden off retailers looking for year-end transport service for vacation items.
  • Usually 12 to 15% of the total truck load volume is on the spot market. At the beginning of July, this number is closer to 25%, but is likely to decrease as more and more shippers are pursuing a portfolio-based transport procurement strategy (dedicated, contract and spot procurement as well as a mix of asset and non-asset providers).
  • Between July 4th and Thanksgiving, weekly truckloads of product typically drop by an average of 21%, resulting in refrigerated vans moving 7,300 fewer truckloads per week by the end of November.
  • By comparing the rates entering the market with those exiting shipper routing guides, contract rates increased in early July: contract rates for new routing guides increased 7% in the two weeks ended July 1 compared to the previous two-week period. We assume that contract rates will remain high at least until autumn.

Via the DAT Truckload Volume Index

The DAT Truckload Volume Index reflects the change in the number of loads with a pick-up date in that month; the actual index number is normalized each month to include all new data sources without bias. The base value of 100 corresponds to the number of loads moved in January 2015 as recorded in DAT RateView, a database of rates paid for an average of 3 million loads per month. National DAT Average Spot Rates are derived from RateView and only include interurban lanes with a travel length of 250 miles or more. Spot rates represent the payments made to freight forwarders by freight brokers, external logistics service providers, and other transportation buyers.

About DAT Freight & Analytics

DAT operates the largest truck freight marketplace in North America. Transportation brokers, automotive companies, news organizations and industry analysts rely on DAT for market trends and data insights derived from 249 million freight matches and a database of $ 110 billion in annual market transactions. As the industry standard for pricing truck loads, DAT’s freight rate database also provides the settlement prices against which truck freight futures contracts are traded.

Established in 1978, DAT Solutions LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Roper Technologies (NYSE: ROP), a diversified technology company and a component of the S&P 500, Fortune 1000 and Russell 1000 indices.


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