ACT Research: TL Spot Rates Experience First Significant Upswing into 2023

DAT Aggregate TL Spot / Contract Rate SpreadACT Research released the December 2022 installment of the ACT Freight Forecast, U.S. Rate and Volume OUTLOOK report.

Tim Denoyer, ACT Research’s Vice President and Senior Analyst, said, “Truckload spot rates experienced their first significant upswing in the past year from late November into early January, and the spread between spot and contract rates has started to tighten.” He added, “While market conditions remain broadly loose, we’re seeing more signs of slowing supply, key to the bottoming process.”

Denoyer shared, “Slowing supply is key for the US truckload market to transition from the late-cycle stage experienced in 2022 to the cycle-bottom phase which features a thinning of marginal capacity amid lower rates, preceding an early-cycle market tightening.“ He concluded, “Because rates are now far below costs in some cases, the market may experience both the cycle-bottom and early-cycle phases in 2023.”

ACT Research Forecasts DAT Dry Van Spot Rates 1-20-23

ACT’s full-year 2022 forecasts for DAT dry van and reefer spot rates, net fuel, were 93%-94% accurate on average for the 21-month forecast period, with our 2022 forecasts from Q2’21 (19-21 months out) 99.7% accurate for dry van and 98.5% for reefer. DAT dry van spot rates, net fuel, finished 2022 at $2.06 per mile, in line with our forecasts to the penny from 18 and 19 months out (June and July 2021).

ACT Research Forecasts DAT Reefer Spot Rates 1-20-23ACT Research Freight Forecast provides analysis and forecasts for a broad range of U.S. freight measures, including the Cass Freight Index, Cass Truckload Linehaul Index, and DAT spot and contract rates by trailer type. The service provides monthly, quarterly, and annual predictions for the truckload, less-than-truckload, and intermodal markets over a two- to three-year time horizon, including capacity, volumes, and rates.

The ACT Research Freight Forecast uses equipment capacity modeling and the firm’s industry economics expertise to provide unprecedented visibility for the future of freight rates, helping businesses in transportation and logistics management plan for the future with confidence.

Used 1.13.23ACT Research is recognized as the leading publisher of commercial vehicle truck, trailer, and bus industry data, market analysis and forecasts for the North America and China markets. ACT’s analytical services are used by all major North American truck and trailer manufacturers and their suppliers, as well as banking and investment companies. ACT Research is a contributor to the Blue Chip Economic Indicators and a member of the Wall Street Journal Economic Forecast Panel. ACT Research executives have received peer recognition, including election to the Board of Directors of the National Association for Business Economics, appointment as Consulting Economist to the National Private Truck Council, and the Lawrence R. Klein Award for Blue Chip Economic Indicators’ Most Accurate Economic Forecast over a four-year period. ACT Research senior staff members have earned accolades including Chicago Federal Reserve Automotive Outlook Symposium Best Overall Forecast, Wall Street Journal Top Economic Outlook, and USA Today Top 10 Economic Forecasters. More information can be found at

ACT’s 68th Seminar is scheduled for February 21-23, 2023. The focus will be the continuous development of decarbonization and technological advancement in on-highway transportation. Each event ACT shares its best-in-class data and forecast in presentations while featuring guest speakers to expand upon topics of interest for the benefit of attendees. More information about Seminar 68 DRIVING DECARBONIZATION: THE FUTURE OF COMMERCIAL VEHICLES is forthcoming. Click HERE to register now.

Forecasting 101 Workshop: On February 21, 2023, our senior analysts widen the knowledge base and skill set of attendees tasked with planning and forecasting responsibilities. This session is designed for you and/or team members who are looking for additional training and continuous education. Attendees will benefit from a coherent and disciplined forecasting thought process to better understand how the results relate to key lead indicators and other forecast inputs (drivers). You can learn more or register for the Forecasting 101 Workshophere

With numerous technology applications and a current lack of mass adoption, the path to understanding the autonomous technology horizon is quality economic modeling. ACT Research, the gold standard in market data, forecasting, and total-cost-of-ownership development for the commercial vehicle market, has developed DRIVING AUTOMATION, a report aggregating relevant market information, diving deep into autonomous models, and presenting a technology adoption rate forecast over a 20-year horizon. To learn more about DRIVING AUTOMATION, click HERE.

For businesses working to understand the future of decarbonized powertrains across Classes 4-8 vehicles, ACT Research is continuing to develop and report groundbreaking analyses of various propulsion systems' evolution of battery and fuel cell electric and hydrogen internal combustion, government regulations and subsidies, electric, hydrogen, natural gas, and gasoline supply, and infrastructure as well as a TCO model of 50 unique vehicle applications across North America, Europe, and China through 2040. To join ACT Research in this effort as we work to develop our third edition of CHARGING FORWARD, a decarbonization forecast thru 2040, and to learn more, click HERE.


Click below to access: 

More information about ACT’s Freight Forecast, U.S. Rate and Volume OUTLOOK.

Information about ACT’s freight-related databases.

December’s Freight Forecast press release. 

ACT’s In the News page.

Back to Blog

Related Articles

ACT Research Freight Forecast: Spot Pressure to Persist on More Capacity Additions

ACT Research released the October installment of the ACT Freight Forecast, U.S. Rate and Volume...

Freight Forecast: Bottoming Process Accelerates, But Latent Capacity Puts Rate Rebound At Risk

ACT Research released the June installment of the ACT Freight Forecast, U.S. Rate and Volume OUTLOOK

Freight Forecast: Pandemic Response Creates Driver Shortage, Pulling Rate Cycle Forward

ACT Research released the July installment of the ACT Freight Forecast, U.S. Rate and Volume OUTLOOK