Markets and products of regional produce surge in Q3 and Q4. Regional pressures associated with seasonal harvest, production, and inventory stocking put additional pressure on the broader truckload market with some regional markets experiencing notable capacity pressure for refrigerated trucks this year, in a year where refrigerated trucks may even be outbid for dry loads. The traditional produce season is well in play and harvest markets have and continue to migrate north. The USA is late in the grilling season and protein requirements for refrigerated trucks persists from key states such as California, Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, and Nebraska.
Expect increased pressure to pull dry and reefer capacity to support these markets in the coming months:
• Soup Season: Cyclical demand for capacity in the Pacific Northwest and the Northeast from the annual build of inventory to support fall and winter soup season starts with demand for refrigerated trucks hauling produce inbound to manufacture and dry vans outbound with canned soups.
• Fall Harvest season creates high demand for reefer and van capacity for apples, cherries, and Christmas trees in the Pacific Northwest.
• Additional fall harvest includes the Great Lakes and Upper Midwest regions for sweet corn, apples, pumpkins, and other late-season vegetables.
2021 continues to be a year of unique imbalances for refrigerated trucks and as outlined above, the demand patterns migrate with the crops which result in regional capacity demands much greater than the national average. We offer a national perspective of the refrigerated truck spot market through the lens of DAT’s LTR: 2021 is an exceptional year with LTRs at multiples of dry van and levels not seen in previous years. We invite our clients to engage their C.H. Robinson account managers to discuss the regional markets they are shipping from, discuss how capacity and price can be aided through amended business processes, timing of events, and route guide strategies.
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