The market dynamics that have led to higher transportation costs were a long time coming and won’t quickly be solved.
Industry leaders discussed some strategies to deal with the problems during a recent United Fresh Reimagine webinar on the future of transportation.
“We project this is a multiyear problem, probably 48 months or longer,” said Todd Bernitt, Vice President – Managed Services for Robinson Fresh.
“The driver pool problem may take a decade or longer to play out,” he said about the driver shortage.
He said a normal load-to-truck ration should be 2.5 or 3 loads per truck. Now it’s about 8-1.
“We’ve seen peaks I’ve never seen before,” Bernitt said, citing 30-1 ratios from Florida this spring and 40-1 from Texas during the winter storms earlier this year.
“All of this is market based,” said Brian Kocher, President and CEO of Castellini Company LLC. “All of this fits together. Regional growing will change the strategy, as with urban, greenhouses and vertical farms. We’re building as much flexibility as we can and advise our partners to do that.”
One simple solution to improving driver retention is to treat drivers and transportation companies better, said Jeff Moore, Vice President of Sales for Tom Lange Company Inc.
“Treat carriers like your best supplier or your best customer,” Bernitt said.