Dozens of different types of produce items, led by vegetables, represent crossings at the Mexican border into Nogales, AZ, as well as into the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas. While produce haulers are feasting on higher freight rates, produce shippers are hoping freight costs will subside soon.
Last week rates on Mexican produce coming through Nogales were higher for some destinations with driver and equipment shortages reported. For example rates from Nogales to Los Angeles were generally ranging from$1,800 to $2,000 per load, a 6 percent increase from a week earlier, but 50 percent higher than the $1,200 rate at the same time during the past two years.
A few rates exceeded $10,000 from Nogales to New York City last week, but recently have dropped as much as 15 percent.
Tomatoes (all types) are providing the heaviest volume at around 1,150 truck loads a weeks. About 900 truck loads of cucumbers are crossing the border each week with squash and bell peppers also having good volume.
Shipments Through South Texas
In the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas some shippers can’t remember such serious truck shortages for this time of the year. One citrus shipper needed 20 trucks to cover his loads a couple of weeks ago. For a six-week period ending with the first week of January, rates for citrus from the valley to L.A. have soared from $2700 to $5500. Overall, South Texas produce rates are generally up about 20 percent from a year ago.
Produce rates from South Texas to Chicago have been ranging from $4000 to $5000, with the average being around $4500, still quite a strong rate. Produce haulers were grossing around $8800 to New York City.
Mexican tomatoes are providing the heaviest volume with about 1000 truck loads a week, with avocados about one-half this volume. Other leading items range from limes to various types of tomatoes and broccoli.
South Texas grapefruit and oranges are averaging about 350 truck loads each week.