Spot Market Reefer Rates Hit a 3-Year High

Lately, the spot market for refrigerated freight has looked a lot more like June than November. Last week, the national average reefer rate hit $2.40 per mile, its highest mark in 3 years.

Fresh produce often drives the demand for reefer freight, and this year, wet fields and high summer temps led to late planting and lower yields out of California. Now, reefer freight seems to be everywhere. California is the leading state, and volumes were up 10%. Texas reefer load counts jumped up 14%. Even Florida surged 52%, though that was with much lower load counts.

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

RISING

There were some crazy-high rates last week, with shippers rushing to get stores stocked ahead of Thanksgiving.

  • Sacramento to Portland, OR, spiked 61¢ up to $3.47/mile
  • Twin Falls, ID, to Phoenix jumped up 48¢ to $3.43/mile
  • On average, outbound lanes from Fresno, CA, soared 13%

Here is a pair of lanes that truckers could run back to back:

  • Sacramento to Denver added 38¢ for an average of $2.78/mile
  • Denver to Houston surged 48¢ to $2.34/mile

It’s not often do you see an average rate out of Denver cross the $2 mark, and we’ll see if that rate holds after Thanksgiving – it’s stayed high so far this week.

FALLING

Rates out of the Upper Midwest continued to transition lower.

  • Grand Rapids, MI to Madison, WI, went from "crazy-high" down to just "high," falling to $2.79/mile
  • Green Bay to Joliet, IL, also took a 46¢ plunge to $3.75/mile
  • Miami volumes improved last week, likely due to imported crops at the port, but shippers and brokers didn’t have much trouble finding trucks. The lane to Baltimore lost 37¢ at just $1.30/mile

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



Matt Sullivan

Matt Sullivan joined DAT Freight & Analytics in 2014, covering topics for motor carriers, freight intermediaries and shippers. Prior to joining DAT, Matt spent more than 10 years in journalism as a writer and editor for the Anchorage Daily News, Nashville Scene and other publications.