It will never be cheap to transport a load by truck from the United States' Pacific Northwest to the Florida Keys with a must-arrive date just three days from pickup. But it's hard to imagine a shipper willing to pay US$5.15 a mile, with a 22 percent fuel surcharge on top of that.
But according to Charles W. Clowdis Jr., a long-time transportation executive and consultant, a shipper recently paid its broker just that to utilize one of a carrier's two-person sleeper team for the 3,178-mile trip, which can be made in about 48 hours on Interstate 90. Clowdis, who runs his own consultancy, said he knows the broker but won't disclose the name. The shipment was picked up on July 13 and delivered on July 16, he said.
Clowdis said he didn't know the name of the carrier, shipper, or the consignment. However, he said that the freight was insured for about US$2.5 million, that it was hauled by the carrier's top sleeper team, and that it may have been bound for an international destination after arriving in the Keys.
The combination of the line-haul rate and fuel surcharge totaled about US$19,600, according to Clowdis' estimates.
There have been rare instances, especially during holiday weeks or periods, where rates have reached US$8-$10 a mile, depending on the circumstances of the move and the value of the consignment. However, the Spokane, Washington-Key West move took place past the most recent holiday, which was the Fourth of July.
According to Clowdis, the rate for the move demonstrates how elevated truck pricing has become in the past year as capacity becomes dearer, and rates for all moves hit levels that were inconceivable two years ago. In 2015, when the market was the opposite of today's, an identical move would have cost the shipper, at most, about US$3.50 a mile, according to Clowdis. "And that would have raised eyebrows then just as US$5.15 a mile would today," he said.