According to DAT, spot-market freight volumes reported by its North American Freight Index fell 16% last month compared to the record April high recorded in 2012.

The year-over-year freight declines were seen across all equipment types. Van-load volume dropped a whopping 20% while reefer loads dropped by 10% and flatbed freight by 15%.

“At a time of year when a month-over-month increase in spot market freight volume is expected, the DAT Freight Index declined by 5.8%,” the company pointed out. “Although atypical, freight volumes are reminiscent of those experienced in April of 2011.

“Unusually inclement weather, including floods in the upper Midwest, may have been a factor,” DAT continued. “Freight availability declined 14% for vans and 17% for reefers, but rose 6.6% for flatbeds, compared to March.”

Compared to April 2012, spot-market rates dropped along with demand for vans and flatbeds, but reefer rates saw an increase. Van rates slipped 0.8% and flatbeds by 5.3% while reefer rates went up 2.0%.

“Despite the softness in spot market freight volumes, rates rose in April across all equipment types, compared to March,” DAT observed. “Van rates rose 0.8%, flatbed rates increased 4.5% and reefer rates climbed 5.5%.”.

Rates are derived from the DAT RateView, which is based on $18-billion dollars of actual transactions paid by brokers, 3PLs and shippers to carriers. Reference rates are for linehaul only, excluding fuel surcharges.

The monthly DAT North American Freight Index reflects spot-market freight availability on the TransCore DAT network of load boards in the U.S. and Canada.