It’s peak-shipping season for Mother’s Day

Approximately 83% of U.S. adults are expected to spend an estimated $28.1 billion celebrating this year’s Mother’s Day, according to the National Retail Federation (NFR). The NFR recently released its annual survey, which indicates consumers plan to spend an average of $220 on Mother’s Day-related gifts and items. This is $16 more than last year and the highest in the survey’s history.

Using NAICS formula ($12,000 per ton) to convert retail revenue into tons, $28.1 billion roughly equals 150,000 truckloads. That’s a lot of freight.

“There is a lot of consumer optimism around Mother’s Day this year as more people are getting vaccinated and stimulus checks are being distributed,” says Matthew Shay, NRF President and CEO. “For many, this is a chance to make up for last year’s Mother’s Day when we were under lockdown. With safety guidelines at top of mind, consumers are planning to be with family, are making travel plans and organizing a special brunch or outing. All of these activities will be reflected through their purchasing decisions.”

Retail sales this year are estimated to be $1.4 billion higher than last Mother’s Day. Jewelry and electronics are expected to be the main commodities contributing to the higher spending this year. Combined, they account for 87% of the 2021 estimated increase in consumer spending.

Other Mother’s Day-related spending that will impact the freight market include special outings, as more people are willing to go out to dinner or brunches as part of their celebration. According to those surveyed by NFR, 49% are planning a special outing this year. This is up slightly from last year’s 46% but well short of the 55% average in pre-pandemic years.

As with Valentine’s Day, this week is peak-shipping for flowers ahead of Mother’s day. Most activity will be centered in Miami. According to the USDA, 55% of rose stems are imported from Columbia and 43% from Ecuador. Miami receives 91% of all U.S. flower imports, which are then trucked all over the U.S. and Canada.

The Miami freight market has a large perishables-handling infrastructure and is perfectly located to handle both the domestic air-to-truck logistics and the international air-to-air transfers. It also has an efficient consolidation center for both the U.S. and Europe/Asia for southbound traffic of all kinds.

An additional 5.1% of imported flowers are shipped to West Coast airports, including Los Angeles, Long Beach and San Diego.

According to the USDA, carnations, lilies and roses account for 97% of the flowers sent on Mother’s Day. While roses don’t get the entire spotlight like they do during Valentine’s Day, roses still make up 76% of Mother’s Day flowers.

Flower power

In the two weeks leading up to May 9th, an average of 70 truckloads per day will head north out of Miami where 80% of all flora volume is handled by just three carriers.

Reefer load post volumes on the spot market are already up 31% this week. Spot rates are also up $0.27/mile to $2.73/mile on average to all destinations this week. On the heavy volume lanes including New York City, 3-day spot rates are averaging $3.70/mile. Chicago loads are paying $2.74/mile and $2.77/mile to Atlanta on average. Even loads west to Los Angeles are averaging $1.86/mile.

Note: All rates exclude fuel unless otherwise noted.

Weekly reports

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