Did you know? You can gauge the all-in rates of produce shipments from different regions of the U.S. using SONAR’s AGRATE index.
What is it?
USDA Produce Truckload Spot Rates (AGRATE) – A weekly average total truckload price (all-inclusive) based on a USDA survey of produce shippers in the main agricultural regions throughout the U.S. organized in origin-destination market or lane level granularity. The USDA will pause surveys in periods of low activity or once a harvest season ends.
In the chart above, you can see the all-inclusive weekly average carrier rate for produce has climbed to $5,750.00 for produce shipping from the Fresno market to the Chicago market.
Who needs it?
Analysts: Analysts can utilize AGRATE data to gain visibility into the changing market conditions of produce markets in different regions of the U.S. When the average all-in shipment rates begin to rise, it could signal a region is headed into a peak harvest season, and when the average all-in shipment rates begin to fall, it could indicate the end of a harvest season.
Carriers: Carriers who move produce shipments can use the AGRATE index to gauge the spot market activities on produce shipments in the markets they operate in. Visibility into the average all-in weekly rates can help carriers make decisions on which lanes they choose to accept or decline based on the rates for those lanes, and help carriers keep their rates adjusted to the current market conditions.
Brokers: The AGRATE index can help brokers gauge peak seasons for produce shipments in different regions of the nation. When different markets begin to harvest produce, demand for capacity increases, applying upward pressure on spot market rates. Brokers can help carriers find loads to relocate their equipment to these peak markets, and help shippers find on-demand capacity in these peak markets to move their produce.
Shippers: The AGRATE index can help shippers predict the capacity issues they might incur for the markets they operate in. An increase in the AGRATE index can indicate tightening in capacity, or a decrease in the AGRATE index can signal loosening capacity for the region. Shippers can adjust tender lead times and rates to ensure their loads are covered.
What can I do with it?
Following patterns of spot rate movement on produce shipments will give an indication of supply and demand for carriers that move produce. Increasing rates tend to imply there is an increasing demand for carriers that can haul produce, more than likely temperature-controlled or reefer carriers in a market. Surging prices tend to correlate with specific harvests getting underway. A decrease in rates can indicate a drop in demand for carriers that haul produce, which could be a signal to the end of the peak harvest season for that region.
Show me how!
1) View the AGRATE Index in a chart to see the changes and trends in the carrier rates for produce on different lanes across the nation.
- Upward trends can indicate an increase in demand for carriers that move produce shipments.
- Downward trends indicate a decrease in demand for carriers that move produce shipments.
- Compare produce shipment rates on different lanes from an originating market, or compare produce lane rates from different markets.
2) View the AGRATE Index in a HeatMap to see all AGRATE lanes in SONAR, and sort the lanes by origin market, actual all-in rates, or percentage changes in the rates.
- Click the Chart icon to the right of the index name to pull a chart on an index of interest.
- An index shaded red indicates a decline in the average all-in carrier lane rate.
- An index shaded green indicates an increase in the average all-in carrier lane rate.
Pro Tip: Use the AGRATE index in conjunction with ROTVI, and ROTRI to help understand market conditions in a particular region of the U.S.