Pacific Northwest Heats Up for Vans and Reefers

The Pacific Northwest is heating up, with high demand for vans and reefers, and not enough trucks to haul the seasonal freight. There is also strong load volume available in the Dakotas. If you want to average $2.00 per mile for outbound van loads, however, look to the high-volume, headhaul markets, including Los Angeles and Stockton, CA; Chicago; Columbus; Memphis; and Philadelphia.

During the short Labor Day week, van load posts declined 15% and truck posts slipped 19%. That can be interpreted as an increase in demand, because there were four workdays instead of five, so you’d expect a 20% decline in all load board activity. The result was a 4.9% increase in the national average load-to-truck ratio, from 2.0 to 2.1 van loads per truck on DAT Load Boards.

A big surge in demand boosted rates in McAllen, TX and Twin Falls, ID, as well as Eastern Oregon. Load-to-truck ratios were also high in North Dakota and New Mexico, as indicated by the dark blue areas on this Hot States Map for the week of September 6 – 12, but there were not enough loads available to make the trip worthwhile. The state of Maine is dark blue for the second consecutive week, due to high demand for reefers in the Augusta market, a potato-growing area. Daily maps, along with detailed information on demand, capacity and rates for individual markets and lanes, can be found in DAT Power Load Boards and in DAT RateView.

Spot market rates for reefers were unchanged last week at a national average of $2.04 per mile, compared to the week before the Labor Day holiday. Rates continue to trend up in Twin Falls, a major market for potatoes, and in Eastern Oregon, a source of onions. Carriers also enjoyed rate increases for temperature-controlled freight in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Philadelphia, plus a surprise surge in demand and rates outbound from McAllen, TX. Rates are derived from DAT RateView, and are based on actual rate agreements between freight brokers and carriers. Reference rates include fuel surcharges but not accessorial or other fees. This map of reefer rates in key regional markets can also be found on DAT Trendlines.

Potatoes and onions are rolling out of the Pacific Northwest, boosting demand and rates for reefers on the backhaul lanes heading west from Twin Falls, ID. Rates are rising out of L.A., too, and inbound rates are dropping there, so haul those potatoes to Phoenix instead, for an average of $2.21 per mile. From Phoenix, your rates to L.A. are still not great, but the distance is shorter on a repositioning load back to the Golden State.

This TriHaul route adds $1,057 in revenue to your roundtrip, and boosts the average rate per loaded mile from $1.87 to $2.06. TriHaul route suggestions are offered in DAT Express and DAT Power load boards, and rates are derived from DAT RateView.