October 2014

Overdrive Magazine | Trucking Business News & Owner Operator Info

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October 2014 | Overdrive | 27 freight then made its way onto the spot market or found itself subject to mar- ket rates in some contract stipulations, putting further upward pressure on rates. Internet Truckstop's aver- age van rate has stayed above $2 a mile every month of the year. Flatbed and reefer rates likewise have been at historically high levels, even into the typical late-summer seasonal slump. Ken Harper, DAT market- ing director, pointed at press time to strengthening Sep- tember rates, more evidence of an exceptional year on the spot market, one that possi- bly would beat 2011's double peak in rates. "That was a very strong year," Harper says. "Here in 2014, we've already seen a double peak, and September is looking like it could be another one." For independents who primarily use brokers for freight, taking advantage DAT's "Truckload Capacity in 2014" Shifting freight Spot market freight trends typically mimic those of contract freight, but that changed dramatically this year. Winter storms and resulting capacity shortages – exacerbated by the capaci- ty-shrinking impact of new hours regulations, fleet bankruptcies and more – threw a lot of contract freight onto the spot market. That's good news for owner-operators using brokers. DAT's spot market freight index (left axis, blue) tracks the volume of freight moved in the spot market. ATA's truck tonnage index (right axis, green) is a more broad-based measure of volume, including both contract and spot freight. Where Spot rateS rule DAT's Ken Harper says that in April and May, on more than 45 percent of lanes — many in the East, where more lanes exist — the spot rate was higher than the contract rate. That shows an unusually strong spot market, considering that number's normally about 20 to 25 percent. Other 6% uShip 4% Single broker/agent's online board 7% In-house carrier-run online board 10% GetLoaded 10% DAT's TruckersEdge or other DAT service 26% Internet Truckstop 37% OverdriveOnline.com poll oWner-operatorS' uSe of load SourceS More than 60 percent of owner-operators who use online load-matching services most frequently use either Internet Truckstop or DAT, both of which provide data that can help in negotiation. In addition to the various demand/ rate assessment tools packaged with board subscriptions, both services publish routine market fluctuation reports, delivered via email and in part available online. IT's Trans4Cast (Trans4Cast.com), says Thayne Boren, is available for a $60 yearly subscription and delivered via email. A recent partnership with the FTR freight-forecasting firm will allow it to include spot market forecasts in addition to historical data. DAT's long-running Trendlines report is accessible via Dat.com/resources/trendlines.aspx. 160 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0 800 700 600 500 400 300 200 100 0 Percent of spot market buy rates exceeding contract rates by state • DAT Freight Index (U.S.) 100 = 2000 • ATA NSA Tonnage Jun Sep Dec Mar Jun Sep Dec Mar Jun Sep Dec Mar Jun '11 '11 '11 '12 '12 '12 '12 '13 '13 '13 '13 '14 '14 " The money is there. You've just got to ask for it and know where to look for it and how to set yourself up for it. " — Independent Chad Boblett

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