Check out weekly USDA produce truck rates

| 5/7/2008

The popular phrase “knowledge is power” rings true right now for many owner-operators who are struggling to make ends meet. The USDA publishes a weekly “Fruit and Vegetable Truck Rate Report,” which is available on its Web site and updated every Wednesday, but few produce truckers are actually aware that the report exists.

OOIDA has added a link to its Web site so truckers can quickly access the USDA numbers. Visit and click on the USDA report button in the upper right corner to read the weekly government report. OOIDA Regulatory Affairs Specialist Joe Rajkovacz, who worked as a produce hauler before joining the Association staff in 2006, said the USDA information can be a valuable benchmark tool for truckers.

The USDA bases the rates in its reports on open – or spot – market rates “that shippers or receivers pay depending on basis of sale, per load, including truck brokers’ fees for shipment in truck load volume to a single destination.”

The report also states that extra charges for delivery to terminal markets, multiple pickups and multiple drop shipments are not included “unless otherwise stated.” Rates are based on the most usual loads in 49-foot to 53-foot refrigerated trailers from the origin shipping area to 10 destination receiving cities, which include: Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Philadelphia and Seattle.

OOIDA member and produce hauler DuWayne Marshall of Watertown, WI, said he wasn’t aware of the USDA’s truck rate report until a few weeks ago, but now he has set the link to the USDA report as a “favorite” on his computer.

“Right now, everyone is looking for a competitive advantage, and my feeling is that information is always power,” he said. “I talked to my customer who admits he does look at the report from time to time to see what the rates are, and I think this would be very useful for truckers to take a look at, too.”

The USDA’s weekly report also outlines which regions are reporting a shortage, adequate or surplus supply of trucks for certain commodities. Click here to read the USDA report.

– By Clarissa Kell-Holland, staff writer