Weekly Freight Market Update: Why Did The Reefer Cross The Road?

Reefer tender rejection rates out of Little Rock, Arkansas have been elevated as high as 45% over the past week due in large part to poultry transportation.

While poultry harvest rates are fairly stable year-round, the beginning of May marks the start of retail poultry sales. Of the 29,200 retail outlets used for USDA reporting, 69% are running specials on chicken this week, up from 62.8% last week.

This means many of the chickens that have been harvested and frozen in a recently-expanded Little Rock cold storage facility are set to hit a supermarket freezer near you. Just one facility used by Tyson has frozen capacity nearing 2,900 truckloads, so as long as there is demand, supply should not be far behind.

As these seasonal markets tighten, carriers and shippers should be aware of increased facility times and fluctuating rates.

National Freight Update

This week, tender rejection rates decreased 50 basis points even as there was a 4.6% increase in volume.

What were the regional trends contributing to those numbers?

Overall, effects of produce season have not been as prominent as expected. National produce volume is down 3.7% year over year.

In the Southeast, onion shipments are down 30% from last year signaling that the growing season will not be as strong as previous years. While, in the Midwest, capacity remains abundant especially for southbound loads as carriers look to move their trucks into position for higher paying shipments. Further west, changes in tender rejection rates have been minimal in southern California. The South Central is one region where there is some market tightening. Houston shows signs of increased freight with a 19% week over week volume increase.

Jessica Cederquist
Jessica is a Programs Specialist at Convoy.