Reefer Freight Adjusts to Post-Holidays, Post-ELD

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The demand for refrigerated trailers peaked at year-end, but the extra-cold weather in many parts of the country has kept prices at record-setting levels in many areas, since those trailers are being used to keep freight from freezing.

Reefer capacity is still tight, as the industry continues to adjust to the ELD mandate. The combination of the new regulation, bad weather, high demand, and truckers taking time off around the New Year’s holiday pushed the national load-to-truck ratio to 25.2 reefer loads per truck last week, the highest ever recorded in our weekly DAT Trendlines report. The national average reefer rate also soared to $2.71/mile.

Volumes are otherwise down seasonally, though, so reefer rates may have crested as we move deeper into the post-holiday period.

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


Nogales, AZ, was the only produce-shipping market to post any big rate increases last week, as many others were down significantly.

  • Nogales to Los Angeles surged to $3.36/mile.
  • Ontario, CA to Seattle was up 59¢ to $4.18/mile
  • Out of Texas, McAllen to Atlanta rose 48¢ to $2.86/mile
  • Green Bay to Minneapolis also jumped up 48¢ to $3.49/mile – possibly a Super Bowl effect? Minneapolis is hosting the game this year, and around this time last year we saw inbound rates rise to Houston, where the previous Super Bowl was held


Miami, Denver, Sacramento and Lakeland, FL, all experienced sharp drops last week.

  • Denver to Salt Lake City plunged 79¢ to $1.92/mile – high rates in Denver typically don’t last long.
  • Los Angeles to Portland, OR, tumbled 50¢ to $4.18/mile
  • Miami to Baltimore dropped 99¢ to $2.39/mile
  • Lakeland to Charlotte lost 62¢ at $1.81/mile

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

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