New ELD Rule Tests Reefer Capacity

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Demand for reefers stayed strong last week for local and short haul lanes, but a decline in long haul traffic loosened truckload capacity on the highest-volume lanes. That pushed rates lower in most places, but we’re still coming down from some historically high reefer rates, so prices remain well above average for December.

We’ll have to wait and see what effect the ELD mandate will have on the spot market for refrigerated freight, same as with dry van freight. According to some reports, reefer carriers were the most likely to be early adopters of e-logs, which may mean that the impact will be less pronounced. We’ll know more next week.

But based on this Hot Market Map from Tuesday, it’s probably safe to say that the new regulation has led to tighter reefer capacity this week. This could make for another month of very high reefer rates.

Daily Hot Market Maps are available in DAT Power and DAT RateView.

Below were the biggest movements up and down for reefer rates last week, but given the new regulatory climate – plus the pressure to get some loads delivered before Christmas – all of this could change quickly.

All rates below include fuel surcharges and are based on real transactions between brokers and carriers.


Load counts out of Florida got an off-season boost of 8%. These are still relatively low volumes, but it was enough to push rates on the lane from Miami to Elizabeth, NJ, up 28¢ to an average of $1.75/mile.

A couple of intermediate lanes out of California kicked into high gear last week:

  • Fresno to Denver jumped up 42¢ to $3.16/mile
  • Ontario to Seattle was up 34¢ at $2.80/mile, which could have been affected by the wildfires in Southern California


Reefer rates were way down out of Southern Idaho, so grocery stores must have the potatoes they need for Christmas.

  • Twin Falls to Chicago tumbled 40¢ to $2.08/mile
  • Twin Falls to Los Angeles was down 35¢ at $2.67/mile
  • Nogales, AZ, to Dallas tumbled 30¢ to $2.43/mile, but that’s still a higher average than a month ago
  • One short haul lane moved downward: Green Bay to Joliet, IL, fell 35¢, but the average is still very high at $3.87/mile

Find loads, trucks and lane-by-lane rate information in DAT load boards, including rates from DAT RateView.

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