Reefer Madness: July contract rates increase as broker rates recede

Contract rates for reefers increased from $1.50 to $1.51 in July. This seems odd, because spot market demand — and broker rates — peaked at $1.58 in June for refrigerated vans, then declined to $1.53 in July on the way to the current average of $1.49 in the last week of August. Reefer demand still exceeds capacity, with a spot market load-to-truck ratio of more than seven loads per available truck. But the decline in the spot market rate signals a return to seasonal norms.

Both sets of rates are provided by TransCore’s Truckload Rate Index. The spot market freight rate is updated daily. It represents a 30-day rolling average nationwide, based on rate agreements between freight brokers and carriers. Contract truckload rates represent the previous month’s national average of thousands of actual “retail” freight bills between shippers and carriers.