Last year through November contract rates rose an average 6.5 percent, while spot market rates increased 7.4 percent, TransCore reported.
Spot market rates increased unevenly during the year, especially for vans, said analyst Mark Montague. Refrigerated rates spiked in the second quarter. Spot market rate increases for both vans and reefers slowed in the second half, but “flatbed rates continued to beat their 2010 comparables well into the second half of the year,” he reported. “Flatbed rate increases didn’t slow down until mid-November.”
The TransCore analyst said rates will continue to climb this year as carriers’ costs increase. If the economy improves, demand will raise pressure on capacity. If the economy weakens, carriers will park trucks or leave the market. “Expect rates to head up as soon as mid-March,” he said.