TransCore’s North American Freight Index registered a 65% increase in spot market freight availability in September 2010, compared with the previous year. September’s spot freight reached the highest levels for the month since 2005, which was a peak year for spot market volume. Year-over-year comparisons are expected to be progressively less dramatic in the coming months, however, as this year’s results will be compared with improving levels of freight volume seen in the second half of 2009.
On a month-over-month basis, September load volume was 4.9% higher than in August. Much of the incremental volume materialized in the final days of the month, as shippers rushed freight out the door before closing the third quarter. In the past six years, spot freight volume increased month-over-month three times by an average of 19% and declined three times by an average of 15%, yielding a six-year average increase of 1.7% from August to September.
The increase in demand led to a slight uptick in truckload freight rates on the spot market, as measured by TransCore’s Truckload Rate Index, which is calculated using actual payments from brokers to carriers. National average linehaul rates for refrigerated and dry vans increased in September by $0.02 and $0.01, respectively, compared with August.