Higher Trucking Rates are Facing Idaho Potato Industry This Season

Higher Trucking Rates are Facing Idaho Potato Industry This Season

Hauling Idaho potatoes by truck this season is coming with higher freight rates.

Between early August to October 9, the USDA reported the average rate for refrigerated trucks from Idaho to Atlanta rose from $4,675 to $6,500, a gain of 39%. This year’s October rate was up about 40% compared with a year ago.

The truck rate from Idaho to Boston rose from $7,000 in early August to $8,500 by October 9, a gain of 21%. Compared with the same time a year ago, the October 2021 rate was 37% higher.
Refrigerated truck rates from Idaho to Chicago were rated at $4,500 on October 9, 25% up from early August and 32% above the same time a year ago.

The Idaho Potato Commission of Eagle, ID expresses concerns over having adequate truck supplies during the holiday season.

Heading towards winter the commission is urging retailers to order early in order to build potato inventories, because transportation is going to be a challenge.

The commission reports factors which should favor truck availability include higher freight rates, driver signing bonuses and strong truck demand. Factors that could decrease truckload available range from slowed truck manufacturing because of part shortages and labor shortages.

Increasing demand for truck capacity is seen with the economic stimulus, retail spending, inventory replenishment, consumer sentiment, and housing. 

However, the federal stimulus package enticed some drivers and warehouse workers to make money by “sitting on their couch” as opposed to joining the workforce, the commission reported.

Owner operators now account for 62% of truckers. Some observers predicted more owner operator entering the freight business.

C.H. Robinson of Prairie Eden, MN is projecting a 5% to 6% growth in spot rates from early September to the end of the year. Less-than truck load rates remain elevated compared to the historical five-year average and the truck driver shortage is not easing.

The company notes reducing wait time for drivers should be one aim, and investing in good facilities is another.

Twin Falls, Idaho potatoes – grossing about $8500 to New York City.