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Market Watch for Sept. 28:
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.
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%.
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%.
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.
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.