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Economic green shoots are beginning to sprout from the depths of the COVID-19 recession, as the spring produce season generates shipping demand across a swathe of US states. That’s pushing spot market rates and demand for refrigerated and dry-van trucking equipment higher, according to spot market load boards and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Spot refrigerated rates from Nogales, Arizona — the US entry point for many produce shipments from Mexico — to many US consumer markets were up by double digits from early May through May 19, the USDA said last week, including a 22 percent jump in the lane from Nogales to Atlanta. Rates to Atlanta from parts of California were up 13 to 15 percent.

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