DAT Solutions has reported that spot-market freight volume in April declined 8.8% from Q1 highs. However, the company pointed out that freight volume “remained well above historic norms in April, up 51% compared to the same month in 2013.”

Per the DAT North American Freight Index, truckload freight levels in the spot market began a gradual decline toward seasonal norms in April— following “extraordinary volume” recorded in the first quarter.

DAT explained that “extreme weather as well as economic and regulatory factors reduced fleet productivity and disrupted supply-chain operations throughout the winter, driving a larger proportion of shippers and intermediaries to the spot market for elusive truck capacity.”

The overall volume that remainedwell above historic norms in April” included van freight up 48%, reefer freight up 53% and flatbed freight up 66% year-over-year.

“Compared to the record-breaking levels of March, however, total freight volume slipped 8.8% in April,” DAT stated. “A decline from March to April has occurred twice in the last five years. Month-over-month, April van and reefer freight volume contracted 22% and 25%, respectively. Flatbed loads increased 10% month-over-month, however, in an expected seasonal pattern.”

DAT also found that “significant” year-over-year rate increases came along with the unusually high volume for all three major equipment types. Compared to April 2013, rates climbed 19% for vans, 20% for reefers and 12% for flatbeds.

But month-over-month van rates dropped 3.8% from record highs in March while reefer rates went up 2.3% and flatbed rates climbed 4.0% percent. Again, DAT said this was due to strong seasonal trends.

The monthly DAT North American Freight Index reflects spot market freight availability on the DAT Network of load boards in the U.S. Additional trends and analysis are available at DAT Trendlines.