Every week for the past year, I’ve been checking the USDA Fruit and Vegetable Truckload Rate Report to see how their rates compare to reefer rates in DAT RateView. Occasionally I see big differences. I suspect that some contracting parties for USDA don’t always get the most current rates, as the data quality varies. DAT RateView prices thousands of lanes with current information, while USDA only prices a handful of lanes. For the most part, however, the USDA numbers support RateView’s reefer rates as an accurate reflection of the produce market.
Last week, I went to the USDA site as usual, but I found a blank screen that informed me the site was offline due to “a funding lapse.” I’m a pragmatic guy, so I didn’t view that as a setback. It was an opportunity.
I went back to RateView and developed a parallel report, based on spot market “broker buy” rates that freight brokers pay to carriers in most of the lanes covered by the USDA report. To bring the rates in line with the “broker sell” rates of the USDA report, I added in a percentage to represent the commission that the broker would charge to the shipper or consignee who pays the final freight bills.
In order to be as precise as possible, I interpreted USDA’s generalized regional descriptions and substituted specific origins with specific rates. Remember, though, these are snapshots of data over a time frame, and spot market rates can change quickly with market conditions. Before I came to DAT, I spent 30 years as a pricing analyst for freight brokers, trucking companies and 3PLs, so this was a familiar role.
The resulting report is presented in a PDF format similar to the USDA’s original. You can download last week’s report here. (Note: I have added an edition for the week of Oct. 4-10, here.) If you like it, I’ll continue publishing these until the USDA re-opens its web site and re-starts weekly publication of the rate report.
If you want the most detailed, current rates and market conditions, subscribe to DAT RateView.
Here is the summary: