Truck rates have been easing, but will the polar vortex change all that?
The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that refrigerated truck availability was rated adequate to surplus for nearly all produce shipping point regions at the end of January. The Jan. 30 report said:
A slight surplus of trucks was reported for the following commodities: tomatoes and mixed vegetables, berries from Central and South Florida. All other districts reported an adequate supply of trucks.
Meanwhile, the Jan. 20-26 DAT Solutions Weekly Spot Freight Brief was headlined “Solid Freight Activity Not Enough to Keep Spot Rates From Falling.”
According to the report, spot truckload rates tumbled during the week ending Jan. 26. : For refrigerated loads, average outbound prices softened in many key markets, according to the report:
- Grand Rapids, Mich.: $3.30/mile, down 7 cents;
- Chicago: $2.73/mile, down 7 cents;
- Atlanta: $2.55/mile, down 1 cent;
- Dallas: $2.06/mile, down 4 cents; and
- Elizabeth, N.J.: $1.99/mile, down 7 cents.
DAT said extreme weather could influence spot rates. From the report:
"Winter storms cause trucking operations to slow, which has the effect of reducing available capacity. The weather also affects shippers and receivers who may have trouble maintaining staffing levels and schedules. Restricted capacity can drive rates up, while slowdowns in business and consumer activity can push rates down. Ultimately, the timing and severity of this current winter storm will determine the impact on rates."
This cold snap is plenty severe, but what will be the ultimate impact? We should see some effect by next week....