Watch Now

SONAR Sightings: Memphis, Tennessee, reefer volume heats up, Milwaukee hits 2-year low

The highlights from Monday’s SONAR reports are below. For more information on SONAR — the fastest freight-forecasting platform in the industry — or to request a demo, click here. Also, be sure to check out the latest SONAR update, TRAC — the freshest spot rate data in the industry.

Market watch for Sept. 12

Memphis, Tennessee

Today we will specifically be looking into the trends within the reefer markets across the nation.

Next week is supposed to be a hot one for Memphis with rising temperatures, but the reefer market is keeping it cool this week.

Since Labor Day, the Reefer Outbound Tender Volume Index in Memphis is up 45.8% to a 30-day high of 9.35.

Reefer capacity is tightening in the market, evident by the Reefer Outbound Tender Reject Index rising 982 basis points in the last week to 19%. The tightening of the reefer market will begin to put upward pressure on spot rates leaving Memphis.

SONAR Tickers: ROTVI.MEM, ROTRI.MEM with “Dual” display


In what has been coined as “Brew City,” reefer volumes were not as elevated as they had been in recent years leading into Labor Day, and rejection rates were not even close.

In 2020, Milwaukee saw a 65% increase in reefer volume for the second half of August; in 2021 a 40% increase; and this year a 27% increase.

In the case of outbound tender rejections, the first week of September in 2020 they were roughly 35% and in 2021 just over 50%. This year rejection rates barely scratched 10%.

This data is but a small reflection of the overall downturn in the market due to an excess amount of capacity but a relatively low amount of freight in relation to what the industry has experienced the last two years.

SONAR Tickers: ROTRI.MKE with “2-year Seasonality”


In the Lone Star State, rejection rates in the reefer market have been trending upward since the start of August. 

The Reefer Outbound Tender Reject Index is up 1,700 bps since Aug. 7 to a 90-day high of 27%. Volumes, on the other hand, leading into the holiday were up 51.5%.

It will be hard to tell what volumes are doing post-holiday for another day or so, but the consistent increase in rejections tells us that the market will remain tight.


NTI as a point of reference

The National Truckload Index is a daily look at how spot rates in specific lanes hold up in comparison to the national average, giving carriers and brokers an idea of which lanes to gravitate toward or avoid.

NTI Daily

Watch: Carrier update

Corey Smith

Corey is a staff writer for FreightWaves with experience in air, intermodal and parcel operations, as well as LTL and full truckload transportation management. He is a graduate of the University of Memphis, majoring in supply chain management, and enjoys basketball, cinema and traveling.