The spot freight market, freight that needs to be delivered but falls outside a regular contract, is showing strong signs of growth as the year 2013 draws to a close. Though the overall numbers were down slightly from the month of October, November had fewer work days. If the growth is adjusted for the same number of working days in October and November, the month would have seen a 10 percent increase from month to month. When compared to November of last year, the spot freight market experienced an eight percent gain according to the DAT North American Freight Index. DAT is a unit of TransCore, which publishes information on freight on a monthly basis. There was about 9.5 percent less freight in November compared to October, but November held four fewer business days. Compared to October, November saw a .9 percent increase in overall van freight, five percent decline for refrigerated trucks, and a 21 percent decline for flatbed trucks. However, when compared to the numbers for November 2012, van volume dropped 11 percent, while refrigerated trucks increased by 1.9 percent, and flatbeds dropped 2.5 percent.
Comparatively, in the spot freight market, van freight was up six percent, refrigerated trucks were up by 1.9 percent, and flatbeds saw a 5.4 percent decline. This is partly due to the record highs experienced in the market for flatbed freight last year. Rates, however, were down slightly. Compared to last year, rates for line haul only, excluding surcharges for fuel, were down both compared to October of this year and when compared to November of last year.
This year is not seeing the typical slowdown in the freight market commonly seen as the weather turns cold. Since most commodities have already been shipped through the supply chain for the holiday season, the spike in business is likely an attempt to get goods shipped before 2014, when rates are likely to go up.