USDA offers online weekly market reports, quarterly produce transportation reports
Aug 1, 2003 12:00 PM, [Compiled by Gary Macklin • email@example.com]
In addition to its weekly reports available from the USDA, Agricultural Marketing Service, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, Market News Branch, the US Department of Agriculture has just inaugurated a new Refrigerated Transport Quarterly newsletter that will be available in pdf. The weekly market reports on transportation rates and volume in text-only format can be found online at ams.usda.gov/mnreports/wa_fv190.txt.
The first of the quarterly reports has recently been distributed by email to a recipient list maintained by USDA. The agency says that the next quarterly report, due out shortly after the end of the third quarter 2003, will contain information for obtaining a subscription. For those wishing to subscribe prior to issuance of the next quarterly report, requests for subscription can be emailed to Jim Del Ciello at the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, Transportation and Marketing Programs, Transportation Services Branch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Refrigerated Transport Quarterly is intended to provide a view of refrigerated truckload movements in terms of volume and rates. It highlights the major produce shipping regions with emphasis on Arizona, California, Florida, the Pacific Northwest, Texas, and Mexico.
The first quarterly report, covering activity in the first quarter of calendar year 2003, was issued on August 1, 2003. USDA officials concede that the first issue is less than timely, but point out that it took more than 2½ months to compile, process, and review data in the report. Now that the format and review process has been established, the agency anticipates that data in future issues will be much more timely, providing information on the previously completed quarter.
Highlights from the current Refrigerated Transport Quarterly show that shipments of fresh fruit and vegetables declined in the first quarter 2003 compared to the same period of the previous year. The report tracks seven regions and says that shippers tendered 5.08 million tons of produce in the first three months of 2003, compared to 5.12 million tons in the first quarter 2002. However, shipments of celery from Arizona and California increased in 2003 as did shipments of strawberries from California. Shipments of cabbage from Texas and Florida declined compared to the previous year. Although volume declined, trucking rates on a quarterly and annual basis increased.
USDA tracks rates for 19 origin/destination pairs. For the year 2002, rates between those 19 origins and destinations rose for 15 pairs. For the first quarter 2003, rates rose for 12 of the origins and destinations. In 2002, rates fell for mixed vegetables from Texas and Central California to New York, for tree fruit from the Pacific Northwest to Atlanta, and for potatoes from the Northwest to Atlanta.
For the first quarter 2003, the average rate per mile paid to move fresh produce was $1.26. The lowest rate for the quarter was 90 cents per mile for moving potatoes from the Pacific Northwest to New York, and the highest rate was $1.46 per mile for mixed fruit from Florida to New York. Per load, the highest rate in the first quarter 2003 was $4,038 for hauling tree fruit from the Northwest to New York followed by $3,900 for mixed vegetables from Southern California to Atlanta. In the same period, mixed vegetables from Texas to New York paid $3,688 per load.
The Refrigerated Transport Quarterly reports that roughly 20% of the freight moving from Mexico to the US is refrigerated produce with tomatoes dominating the volume, with 11,477 loads crossing the border in the first quarter 2003 alone. The sum of the top 10 commodities moving out of Mexico in the first quarter totaled 41,493 loads with the majority of that freight crossing the border at Nogales, Arizona. Although the majority of loads from Mexico enter the US at Nogales, rates from McAllen, Texas, to New York are higher than rates for the same commodities moving from Nogales to New York.
The USDA report provides a detailed analysis of the percentage of truckloads for each commodity moving from the major shipping regions and a breakdown of the top five commodities shipped from these points. The report also carries announcements of recent federal regulations affecting truckload carriers.
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