Outbound refrigerated freight from California is surging, driving up rates and tender rejections. Reefer capacity tightened in the middle of the country, too, but loosened slightly in Florida.

In our discussion of spot rates below, brokers told us that in some important lanes, spot rates are actually higher year-over-year. We believe that sets up refrigerated transportation providers for a good year, despite the overcapacity plaguing dry van markets and overall dismal macroeconomic conditions.

But fully exploiting the opportunities in today’s rapidly changing market will require transportation providers — both carriers and brokers — to be agile.

Thursday morning, Lineage Logistics announced it had acquired food service distribution assets from Maines Paper & Food Service, a division that had served Burger King and Darden Restaurants. We discuss the deal in more detail below, but in general, we view it as an example of how rigid overspecialization can create vulnerabilities, and how customer diversity and a large, well-balanced network can absorb assets and redeploy them efficiently.

It’s worth keeping in mind as refrigerated providers look for growth opportunities, especially if they involve dedicated resources to specific niches or customers.

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