DAT . Truck Tonnage Index Trends for June

After three straight months of declines, the June release of the DAT Truckload Volume Index (TVI), released by DAT Freight & Analytics this week, showed growth.

The DAT truckload volume index reflects the change in the number of loads with the date of receipt within that month, with the actual index number normalized each month to accommodate any new data sources without distortion, with a baseline of 100 equal to the number of loads moved in January 2015. Measures dry, refrigerated truck ( refrigerated), and flatbed trucks that are transported by truckload carriers.

TVI’s dry-truck freight reading for June – at 240 – is up 6% from May, with TVI refrigerated – at 173 – down 0.6%, and TVI flat-loading up 5% to 245. DAT said changes in TVI account for the number of loads Transferred on the date of receipt during the month.

DAT data highlighted the following takeaways for truck load volumes, load-to-truck ratios, and averages, for the month of June, including:

  • The average contract truck freight rate hit a new high, at $3.29 per mile, setting a new record;
  • Flat average rate, at $3.90 per mile, hit a new high;
  • The average contract cooler price, at $3.56 per mile, was flat;
  • The average truck price on the national spot market fell $0.01, to $2.68 per mile;
  • The national average spot coolant price, at $3.04, decreased by $0.02;
  • The flat national average, at $3.46 per mile, rose by $0.02, setting a new record;
  • Spot rate surcharges, which DAT said were negotiated by the carrier and freight broker as a one-time transaction and should include an amount to help cover carrier fuel expenses based on diesel prices at the time, hit record levels in June, with the truck shipping at $0.75 per mile; Coolant at $0.90 per mile, flat charging at $0.90 per mile (removing an amount equal to the average fuel surcharge, DAT said the instant fuel haul came in at $1.93 per mile, with the coolant and flatbed, at $2.22 and $2.56, on straight)
  • Year-over-year, the average spot truck price was flat, with coolant down $0.06 and $0.31 with the caveat that the national average fuel price for June 2021 was $3.29 per gallon compared to $5.75 on June 22;
  • Spot load relay activity, for the number of loads deployed on the DAT One network, is down 20% compared to May and down 26% annually, while capacity exceeds demand, as there was a 7% increase in trucks on the network, from May to June And the
  • The national average truck-to-truck loading ratio rose from 4.4 in May to 3.9 in June, with the refrigerant ratio dropping from 7.5 in May to 7.0 in June, and the flat ratio dropping from 63.3 in May to 37.6 in June

“The downward pressure on spot prices in June was driven by a combination of higher fuel prices and a record number of trucks available for business,” Ken Adamo, head of analytics at DAT, said in a statement. “While small trucking companies and independent operators are exiting the market, it is not due to a lack of freight. Gross truckload volumes were as strong in June as they were throughout the second quarter and now in the first half of July.”

DAT Principal Analyst Dean Kroc said LM In June, he made a position, for contract prices, not seen since May 2020, as new prices started appearing in routing guides based on RFPs a few months ago in routing guides, and for the first time since May 2020, truck contract prices shifted refrigerated to negative.

“This means that contract prices have peaked and are starting to fall, with new rates arriving at a lower rate now, and more so in refrigerants,” Crooke explained. “And what that means is that all of the active rates in the guides will slowly start to decline, which is exactly what happens when spot prices drop as they are. It puts a drag on contract prices eventually. That is a big news story in and of itself, because we have six to eight quarters From big price increases from the shipper side and this is the first time it’s started to pull back…and we’ve seen a lot of shipper aisles re-bid, which is very typical in this kind of market cycle, when capacity loosens.”

What’s more, Kroc added that the difference this time around is that a lot of these small, low-lane shippers are letting go to the spot market—rather than bidding on them—and really focus on their core lanes. He added that according to anecdotal accounts, about 80% of the charger’s volume is operating in 10% of their lanes overall.

“If you’re bidding, a lot of people are going out 100% of their lanes and tying up carrier time and time to try and get the RFPs done,” he said. “That’s a big picture there, but when you look at some of the broader economic indicators, like the ATA’s monthly truckload index and the US Bank’s freight index, it’s up year-over-year and even a little bit better than 2018. And the contract market is demand a lot like what happened in 2018. 2018, or a little better, but explaining the drop in prices on the line side when taking out the fuel is a lot of capacity… and that capacity when you look at post load volumes is almost identical to 2019, which was a bad year for carriers.”

Speaking on the issue of fuel, Adamo noted that there is still plenty of room for diesel prices to fall.

“In many parts of the United States, there’s a two-dollar difference between gas and diesel right now,” he said. “And if you look at a lot of long-term crude oil prices versus diesel prices, the way they correlate, there is still plenty of room for diesel to fall over the next month or two, with the EIA around $4.25 by Christmas.”

About the author

Jeff Berman, Group News Editor Jeff Berman is Group News Editor at Logistics ManagementAnd the Modern Material HandlingAnd the Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and material handling sectors on a daily basis. Contact Jeff Berman

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