Reefer Spot Market Shows Impact of ELDs

This is typically the off-season for refrigerated freight, but we can still see the impact of the ELD mandate across the spot market, which has helped keep reefer rates high.

Prices actually fell on most of the high-traffic reefer lanes, but reefer rates are still 6% higher than they were a month ago. And just like with van rates, the decline has been slow compared to the rapid increases we saw after the mandate went into effect in mid-December.

The Nogales, AZ, market had been very tight until last week, when reefer load counts and rates there fell off sharply. Domestic produce is being harvested in California’s Imperial and Coachella Valleys, so we’re seeing less traffic at Mexican border crossings like Nogales, while volume is rising in Southern California. We expect to see prices trending up from Ontario, CA, and nearby markets soon.

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


Some of these rate increases could be due to weather-related disruptions:

  • Reefer rates on the lane from Green Bay to Philadelphia surged 78¢ to $4.73/mile
  • Philadelphia to Boston also soared 45¢ to an average of $4.69/mile
  • Grand Rapids, MI, to Madison, WI, has been another volatile lane, and last week it was up 49¢ to $3.54/mile
  • Miami rates were up 4% on higher volumes
  • Elizabeth, NJ, had a huge jump in reefer load counts, up 38%


  • Nogales to Brooklyn fell 64¢ but still averaged $3.31/mile
  • Nogales to Chicago was down 48¢ to $2.64/mile
  • Denver to Salt Lake City tumbled 55¢ to $2.07/mile
  • Atlanta to Philadelphia also dropped 47¢ to $2.59/mile

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