DAT, a Portland, Oregon-based freight marketplace platform and information provider, recently reported that spot market dry van and refrigerated (reefer) rates came in at their highest rates in 11 months in December, with spot and contracts truckload freight volumes seeing a mild decline.
DAT said there were some seasonable elements in the mix, with spot rates rising in December over each of the last five years, as December van and reefer rates each registered their highest levels going back to January 2020.
“Our rate forecast indicates that van pricing should be flat in the first quarter of 2020 compared to Q4 2019, with upside potential of 3 to 5 percent,” said Ken Adamo, Chief of Analytics at DAT Solutions. “The forecasting model will respond in real time to any disruptions in the timing of weather events, trade tensions, and the spring shipping season.
DAT said that the late year spike was likely spurred due to the result of inventory management by e-commerce vendors with a keen focus on delivery speed. And despite these companies not representing the same truckload volumes as the more traditional brick and mortar retailers responsible for more than 80% of holiday merchandise, DAT noted they “create more urgency on the spot market.”
Van and reefer rates each saw $0.12 cent per mile increases in December, with vans at $1.94 and reefers at $2.30. Flatbed rates came in at $2.17 per mile, which rose 7 cents over December, marking the second lowest tally of 2019.
On the volume side, van volume slipped 1.5% from November to December, with reefer steady and flatbed off 2.7%. Van volume was up 14% annually, reefers rose 9%, and flatbed volumes were off 0.8%.
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