Reefer rates may only be up 0.2% this week, but they may continue to increase through the end of August and into September. Early signs of a bumper crop in various produce markets might also support an uptick in van rates, as some produce items do not require refrigeration. During this time of year we see load volume increase in major California produce markets as well as other key markets across the country, including Michigan, Maine and Upstate New York. As these regions begin to ship late season fruits and vegetables, reefers and some vans should have an easier time booking an outbound load from these typical backhaul markets.
Flatbed rates are beginning to decline after 5 months of increasing rates. Rates slipped 2.3% over the past two weeks in national markets and are expected to continue to decline in the coming weeks. Dallas recorded the greatest rate increase at 0.9%, while Atlanta rates fell 4.7% in the past week. Flatbed rates from the southeastern region of the country are showing signs of decline as post-storm reconstruction is completed, reducing demand for building materials and equipment.
Reefer freight availability and rates in Southern Texas have seen better days. After weeks of fires, followed by severe weather and the recent drought, reefer load activity from this region has plummeted. This region is home to some major produce markets which have little to ship during a drought. Time will tell if they can salvage late-season crops once temperatures begin to cool.
In last week's major market report, Memphis recorded the greatest increase in rates, but this week it fell to the bottom of the pack. The sudden spike may have just been a busy week for Memphis. Nationwide, van rates are stable, down 0.3%. We will check again next week to see whether the boost in reefer rates and demand have an impact on van rates.
Have you seen similar movement this past week? Have a hunch where the market might go next? Comment below, I'm curious what you're seeing out on the road.
I will also be available LIVE on the blog Monday, August 22 at 4:30PM (Pacific) answering your questions on rates and trihauls. If you have a question, feel free to submit it in the comments at the bottom of this post, and I'll answer it LIVE on the blog, Monday afternoon!
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