Will Tighter ELD Enforcement = Tighter Reefer Capacity?

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Reefer rates usually dip around Easter, when the urgency to get fresh shipments into stores before the holiday fades. That wasn’t the case last week, though. Volumes were down, but prices weren’t.

Easter also happened to be on April 1 this year, the first day in which trucks could be placed out of service for not having an electronic logging device (ELD) installed. That could have been a contributing factor to the tighter reefer truckload capacity that we saw last week, with truck posts on DAT load boards down 5% for reefers.

That’s not nearly as dramatic as the drop in truck posts we saw back in December, when the mandate first went into effect. We’ll have to wait and see how the trends play out when reefer demand heats back up.

DAT provides the largest and most trusted digital freight marketplace in the trucking industry, with more than 179 million loads and trucks posted annually, plus insights into current spot market and contract rates based on $45 billion in real transactions.

Higher load-to-truck ratios in many parts of the country led to higher rates on 44 of the top 72 reefer lanes, compared to the 25 that had lower rates (the others were neutral). The national average reefer rate was also up 8¢ compared to the March average, at $2.48/mile.

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


Out of California, Fresno outbound pricing jumped 4.4% on higher volumes, and Los Angeles rates rose 3.9%. Ontario prices climbed 2.3% on average, but volumes out of the Imperial Valley were once again lower last week.

Dallas volumes were weaker, but the average outbound rate increased 4.9%. Several lanes posted solid gains:

  • Dallas to Houston, up 8¢ to $3.15/mile
  • Dallas to Phoenix, up 22¢ to $2.28/mile
  • Dallas to Columbus, up 13¢ to $3.15/mile


That lull after Easter? It was in force in Philadelphia. Without the run-up to the holiday weekend, the number of outbound reefer loads dropped and the average rate was down 2%.

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

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