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SONAR Sightings: Southern California reefer volumes trend down into autumn; rejections in Memphis deflate

The highlights from Wednesday’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. 28:

Fresno, California

Reefer volumes in Fresno, California, are continuing a steady decline that started last week.

Since Sept. 21 the Reefer Outbound Tender Volume Index for Fresno is down more than seven points, or 15%, to 40.7 — its lowest value since May.

Cucumbers and peaches will be out of season once September comes to a close and grapes — the second most profitable produce to come out of the Fresno market, bringing in over $1 billion in 2020 — will be fading out in early October.

As volume continues to decline, capacity is complying to contracted freight to secure its loads. The Reefer Outbound Tender Reject is up 51 basis points (bps) since the start of the week to 1.7%, meaning that only a small number of the carriers in Fresno are seeking opportunities in the spot market.

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


In the Northeast, reefer volumes in Baltimore are soaring to yearly highs.

During the past week, outbound reefer volumes in Baltimore are up 45% to their highest levels since February of 2021. Meanwhile, inbound reefer volumes are down in the same time frame. The Reefer Inbound Tender Volume Index is down 7.3% since Sept 21.

However, capacity is remaining consistent as the Reefer Outbound Tender Reject Index has declined 117 bps in the last week to 2.5%.


Memphis, Tennessee

Veering away from the reefer market, dry van truckload volumes in Memphis, Tennessee, are steadily trending up for more than a week now. Most of the time, rising volume in the Memphis market only lasts for a few days before trending back down. But the current trend may have more lasting power.

In the past week, the Outbound Tender Volume Index for Memphis is up 27.5 points, or 15%, to a three-month high — excluding the major summer holidays — of 208.7.

Inbound freight volumes are rising as well. The Inbound Tender Volume Index is up 27.7 points, or 23.6%, to its highest value since February.

The simultaneous increase in both inbound and outbound volumes created little change in Memphis’ Headhaul Index. The greater percentage rise was in inbound volumes, so the Headhaul Index is experiencing a slight downward trend, decreasing 2.5% this week to 63.5 as outbound tenders plateau at 4.1%.

SONAR Tickers: HAUL.MEM, OTRI.MEM with “Dual” display

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

Reefer lane to watch: Baltimore to Memphis

Spot market rates from Baltimore to Memphis are up in September from bottoming out in late August. Rates are currently at $2.65 a mile — 5 cents below the national average — with a confidence score of 4, providing little volatility. 

If a return trip presents itself, spot rates back up to Baltimore rise significantly. With a confidence score of 5, presenting little to no volatility, Memphis to Baltimore is paying $3.35 a mile for just over 900 miles.

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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.