The most recent spot rates from the month of January have shown a clear increase in demand, but simultaneously decreases in rates. Clear increases in demand are seen in the fact that the total freight volume was smaller in December than in January of 2019. It's noteworthy that the frigid temperatures across much of the country did in part drive prices up temporarily at certain points in the last week of the month, extending from January 27th through February 2nd.
Spot market loads for the last week of January did increase by 8.5 percent as compared to what they were over the previous week of January 20th to January 26th. However, when the month of January is compared to the month of December, spot market loads only increased by 2.7 percent. It's also worth noting that a significant decrease was seen in spot market loads between January of 2019 and January of 2018. In January of 2019, spot market loads showed a decrease of 34 percent in comparison to spot market loads from January of 2018.
Spot market capacities dropped slightly by 6 percent in the last week of January. However, spot market capacities rose by 16 percent in January of 2019 over the previous month, and they also rose by 49 percent in January of 2019 as compared to January of 2018.
When analyzing van, flatbed, and reefer data separately, all three decreased in terms of spot rates in the last week of January. Van spot rates dropped by 2 percent, flatbed spot rates dropped by 0.8 percent, and reefer spot rates dropped by 2.1 percent. On the other hand, load-to-truck figures all went up. Van load-to-truck data showed a 20 percent increase, flatbed load-to-truck data showed a 6.8 percent increase, and reefer load-to-truck data showed a 17 percent increase.
The national spot rates were highest for flatbed rates at $2.35 on February 2nd, as opposed to $1.93 for vans and $2.29 for reefers. At the same time, flatbed and reefer national spot rates started the month of January at the same amount of $2.42.
Fuel costs remained constant over the last two weeks of January. However, fuel costs dropped by a total of 4.6 percent in January as compared to fuel prices seen in the previous month of December. Fuel costs also went down slightly when costs from January of 2019 are compared to January of 2018. Fuel costs were 1.3 percent less in January of 2019 than in January of the previous year.