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DAT Truckload Volume Index: Freight volumes rose in October

Line-haul rates declined for the fifth consecutive month

Dry van and refrigerated (“reefer”) truckload volumes increased modestly in October ahead of the high-demand holiday freight season, but truckload rates remained sluggish, reported DAT Freight & Analytics, which operates the DAT One online freight marketplace and DAT iQ data analytics service.

The DAT Truckload Volume Index (TVI), an indicator of loads moved in a month, increased for van and reefer freight:

  • Van TVI: 263, up 3.5% compared to September
  • Refrigerated TVI: 196, up 4.3%
  • Flatbed TVI: 245, down 3.2%

“The van TVI was 2.3% higher compared to last October, the first year-over-year increase in a monthly TVI since September 2021,” said DAT Chief of Analytics Ken Adamo. “It’s a positive sign for freight carriers and brokers, but the expectation is for a seasonal bump as opposed to a sustained recovery of volumes and pricing.”

Load-to-truck ratios slipped

DAT’s national average load-to-truck ratios wavered in October, with the van and reefer ratios dropping to their lowest points since April:

  • Van ratio: 2.1, down from 2.8 in September
  • Reefer ratio: 2.9, down from 3.4
  • Flatbed ratio: 6.3, down from 6.9

Load-to-truck ratios measure the number of loads posted to the DAT One marketplace relative to the number of trucks and are a simple indicator of demand for truckload services. Changes in the ratio typically anticipate changes in the pricing environment.

Line-haul rates extended their downward trend

Spot line-haul rates, which subtract an amount equal to an average fuel surcharge, for all three equipment types declined for the fifth straight month:

  • Line-haul van rate: $1.55 per mile, down 1 cent
  • Line-haul reefer rate: $1.87 a mile, down 5 cents
  • Line-haul flatbed rate: $1.83, down 2 cents

DAT’s broker-to-carrier benchmark spot rates also decreased. The spot van rate averaged $2.09 per mile, down 2 cents compared to September, and the reefer rate dropped 6 cents to $2.46 per mile. The flatbed rate was $2.48 a mile, 3 cents lower month over month.

Spot pricing remained well below year-ago levels when the benchmark line-haul van rate was $1.77 a mile, the reefer rate was $2.08 and the flatbed rate was $2.07.

Benchmark rates for contracted freight declined as well. The DAT contract van rate decreased 2 cents to $2.57 per mile, the reefer rate fell 4 cents to $2.97 and the flatbed rate dropped 7 cents to $3.13.

The gap between spot and contract van rates has remained at 48 cents for three months. That’s 15 cents a mile less than in October 2022, when the average spot rate was $2.43 and the contract rate was $3.06.

About the DAT Truckload Volume Index

The DAT Truckload Volume Index reflects the change in the number of loads with a pickup date during that month; the actual index number is normalized each month to accommodate any new data sources without distortion. A baseline of 100 equals the number of loads moved in January 2015, as recorded in DAT RateView, a truckload pricing database and analysis tool with rates paid on an average of 3 million loads per month.

Spot truckload rates are negotiated for each load and paid to the carrier by a freight broker. National average spot rates are derived from payments to carriers by freight brokers, third-party logistics providers and other transportation buyers for hauls of 250 miles or more with a pickup date during the month reported. DAT’s rate analysis is based on $150 billion in annualized freight transactions.

About DAT Freight & Analytics

DAT Freight & Analytics operates the largest truckload freight marketplace in North America. Shippers, transportation brokers, carriers, news organizations and industry analysts rely on DAT for market trends and data insights based on more than 400 million freight matches and a database of $150 billion in annual market transactions.

Founded in 1978, DAT is a business unit of Roper Technologies (Nasdaq: ROP), a constituent of the S&P 500 and Fortune 1000 indices.


Annabel Reeves

Corporate Communications, DAT Freight & Analytics /; 503-501-0143

Stephen Petit

SiefkesPetit Communications


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