Our logistics expert, Cain Adams at Trinity Logistics/Longboard Logistics in Meridian, ID, asks this question: “Does it feel early for rates to be so high out of the Northwest? It feels high for us. We normally fall off this week and take a little break for the next two. Not this year.”
He continued, “California and New Mexico are still going. We see Washington coming on strong, and Idaho/Oregon is on their heels.” And he said, “Onions had a recall, which put even more pressure on the transportation side. We are seeing steady-to-busy load counts. Customers are quoting higher rates this year to cover the freight costs. What’s strange is fuel pricing is not high, yet the rates keep going up.
“We were seeing reefer rates from $7,000 to $9,000 from California to New York and Massachusetts areas. Washington has been handed that baton. It’s just nuts.”
Cain said, “We do not know how much the Railex deal affected freight this summer but know it will affect freight this fall if rates are over $7 per 50 from Washington to the East Coast. We have tried to get numbers on how many loads will need to go on trucks rather than fast rail but have had no such luck.
“Loads coming back into the Northwest have been down too. That puts more pressure on the area and pushes rates up.”
But he added, “Good news! More orders are being seen for replenishing restaurants and foodservice. We are hearing 70 percent or so compared to last year. If we as a country can kick this COVID, by the election demand will go up even more, and more onions will move. We hope the farmers get their fair share of getting paid this year.”
The future is a bit cloudy, he said, concluding, “A crystal ball is what I need right now. It’s seriously day-to-day for rates on every lane out there. People want the crazy to stop so we can all get back to making jokes about climate change and flat Earth believers. We feel it’s going to be a busy year for everyone in the fall. Get ready and price carefully. You do not want to short yourself this year.”