When you are headquartered on the East Coast near much of your customer base, but about one-half of the nation’s fresh fruits and vegetables are grown and shipped from California, the 3,000-mile hauls can present additional challengeover shorter runs. But when one adds the challenges of dealing with federal and state mounting regulations, it just makes doing business more difficult.
Rob Goldstein is president of Genpro Inc. of Newark, NJ and arranges loads of fruit and vegetables from various shipping points around the country, including California. Because of the ever changing and increasing number of rules and regulations, he maintains more team drivers are needed on the road to help meet delivery schedules.
As an example, Goldstein cites the changes in the hours of service rules last July, which in effect reduces the amount of driving time a trucker can legally perform.
“The bottom line is with the new hours of service, and what the truckers can do, if they can’t make more turns in their line hauls, the rates are going to have to go up. Drivers have to drive less hours under the new rules and this results in fewer turns,” Goldstein says. “Drivers get paid for the amount of miles they travel and they are logging fewer miles with these new hours of service.”
On the state level, Goldstein references the California Resources Board (CARB) rules as a hinderance to trucking.
“The average carrier has six or seven units. So we are asking these carriers to comply with the state of California where about 50 percent of the domestic produce production originates,” he notes. “They (California officials) are asking these guys to make significant investments in their equipment, which isn’t easy to do.”
That is a reference to CARB requiring trucking equipment be retrofitted when it reaches seven years old.
As owner operator Henry Lee of Ellenwood, GA says, it will cost him $10,000 to replace the motor on his Thermo King SB-310 reefer unit, to meet the CARB requirements.
Genpro works with a mixture of owner operators, small fleets and carriers. Goldstein says the average size of fleets they work with is about seven units.