Rate Trend of the Week – Vans and Reefers Head for Agricultural Markets

Van rates increased $0.06 as a national average over the last week, but very little of that change showed up in the top 10 high-volume markets. Outbound rates from Columbus increased 5.0% for the week, and both Atlanta and Los Angeles gained 2.2%. The rate pressure in L.A. can be attributed, at least in part, to spillover from reefer demand. Spring harvests are starting early, and fresh produce is on the move.

Meanwhile, Columbus to Philadelphia saw the most improvement over the 4/02-4/09 period, rising $0.22 (8.6%), to $2.78 per mile. Columbus to Chicago also saw improvement, with a $0.13 (9.0%) gain, to $1.57 per mile.

Some of the top-performing lanes from March slipped in the first week of April, however. Minneapolis to Chicago lost $0.25 (12.5%) per mile, to end at a still-respectable $1.75. Philadelphia to Boston remains the highest-paying major lane, despite a decline of $0.21 (6.5%) to $3.01 per mile.

The lane from Philadelphia to Chicago is again one of the “Worst Lanes in America,” as it slipped $0.02 (1.8%) to only $1.04 per mile.

Reefer rates increased $0.08 as a national average, with an emphasis on seasonal produce markets. Immokalee, FL gained most rapidly, with a 7.8% overall increase for the week. Lake Park, GA was up 6.8% and various agricultural markets in Southern and Central California also performed well, with a 6.2% average gain for the week.

Back on the East Coast, the lane from Syracuse to Boston took the top spot, gaining $0.16 cents (4%) for the week, to end at $3.79 per mile. The biggest leap in rates showed up in Lake Park, where the 245-mile reefer haul to Atlanta gained $0.77 to yield $2.36 per mile, a whopping 48% increase.

Rates lagged in other East Coast lanes. Rochester to Philadelphia saw the greatest drop, losing $0.74 (27%) week-over-week, to pay $1.96 per mile. Goldsboro, NC to New York City slid $0.24 (9%) to end at $2.44 per mile.

Surprisingly, the lowest reefer rate for the week was an outbound haul from one of the hottest agricultural markets. Immokalee to Chicago gained $0.08 (12%) but it still paid only $0.77 per mile before the fuel surcharge.

Flatbed rates dropped slightly over the last week, losing 0.3% to end at $2.27 per mile as a national average. Harrisburg, PA showed the greatest increase, gaining 9.8%. Reno came in a close second, gaining 9.7% across the week. Jacksonville showed the biggest decline, losing 6.2%, while Baltimore lost 5.6%.

Harrisburg to Springfield, MA was the highest-paying flatbed lane over the week, gaining $0.41 (15%) to end at $3.23 per mile. Roanoke, VA to Baltimore, MD was the greatest gainer, up $0.52 (21%) to $3.04 a mile.

Raleigh to Baltimore saw the biggest decline, losing $0.74 (24%) to end the week at $2.32 a mile. Phoenix to Las Vegas also lost $0.51 (26%) to land at $1.44 per mile.

Tampa to Atlanta and Baltimore to Charlotte tied for lowest flatbed rate of the past week, at just $0.82 a mile. Both lanes are on the decline, with Tampa to Atlanta losing $0.16 (16%) and Baltimore to Charlotte dropping $0.22 (21%).

For more information, visit the Rate Trend of the Week page in Trendlines. Join the discussion, and add your comments below about rates and other trucking news.