Archive For The “News” Category

Spirit of the American Trucker

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Art Czajkowski

This appeared in April 2020 10-4 Magazine. Who would think we would end up like this… There is connection between us being lazy and blind and the current state of affair….
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We have been told that manufacturing is out of style. We have been told we can import produce from abroad. We have been told our trucks are bad for the air we breathe. We have been told diesel fumes will bring the end of the human race. We have been told that professional drivers, with their blood-shot eyes, are misfits and undesirables. We have been told automated trucks are the only way to go. We have been told all these lies. The truth is this – if it weren’t for this tired and humiliated truck driver (and so many others) that people flip the bird at for staying in the left lane just a little longer so he doesn’t cut off someone’s mother or wife messaging about empty shelves, we would be living in apocalyptic hell already now. But we are not – yet – because his old school (banned) diesel engine relentlessly pulls that cool box back and forth across the country, bringing the Midwest fresh produce from California and then meat back in a 28-hour straight shot. And, that dedicated driver is not even asking for a raise on the rate (even though all truckers deserve it) – he is just asking you to stay positive and strong and watch out for your elderly neighbors. We will be okay if we stick together and do the right thing. We will git ‘er dun because THAT is the Spirit of the American Trucker! God Bless.”

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Crystal Valley Partners with Superior Berries on Georgia Blueberries

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MIAMI, FLA. – Crystal Valley Foods (Crystal Valley) has announced that it has partnered with Superior Berries and will begin shipping Georgia-grown blueberries under both the Crystal Valley and Superior Berries labels beginning this season. The first shipments will begin in April and will be available through the end of May.

Superior Berries, whose parent company is Superior Pine Products, started producing berries in 2003. Today the company has over 200 acres in Fargo, Georgia with plans to expand an estimated 100 acres in the next year. They grow and hand pick primarily Southern Highbush blueberries including Meadowlark, Patricia, Kee Crisp, Indigo Crisp, Farthing and Legacy varieties.

Crystal Valley markets blueberries year-round.

About Crystal Valley Foods

Founded in 1994, Crystal Valley Foods is a leading grower and importer of top quality produce from Central and South America and the United States. With offices and facilities in Miami and Los Angeles, the company is one of the largest importers and distributors of asparagus in the USA. Its extensive product line also includes baby vegetables, peas, beans, berries, baby lettuces, peppers and other specialty crops.

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March Madness Will Pass – What’s Next?

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By Mark Montague

March 19, 2020

As I write this, spot market rates and demand are peaking, hitting numbers reminiscent of good times during 2018.  Of course, it’s primarily due to Coronavirus induced buying as consumers shift from restaurants and entertainment to in home consumption of food & necessities.  While current patterns look familiar, with the Southeast region leading the way, I thought I’d look a little deeper.

The Southeast region has been cited by DAT and others as the strongest current region.  A glance at Hot Market Maps confirms this – here’s what’s unusual:  It’s not Atlanta as the leading market, it’s Memphis.  Indeed, Memphis sits as the crossroads of several regions including the South Central (Dallas, Houston), Southeast (Atlanta, Charlotte), and Midwest (Chicago, Columbus).  When distribution centers in those markets run tight on supplies, they turn to Memphis.  It’s also the hub of Fedex and a lot of urgent freight gets routed through Memphis.

Memphis had load-to-truck ratios hitting 8.2 on 3/10 and again on 3/16, these are almost unheard-of ratios for van freight.  Meanwhile Los Angeles crested at 4.1 on 3/13 as Asian imports return to the West Coast.  Atlanta did hit 5.3 on 3/13 but Dallas was only at 3.3.  For context, I consider 2.5 load posts per truck to be a “balanced” van market.  Long study of ratios says that’s the normal amount of ‘inflation’ in posting numbers.

Switching to regional freight matrix, which has one day rates in addition to 7-day and 15-day look-ups, I found that 7-day rates are generally higher than 15-day rates, but one day rates (Monday, 3/16) were somewhat lower, except on freight from the Southeast region to South Georgia-Florida, which rose from $2.65/mile on average to $2.71/mile.  This matrix compiles all trips of at least 150 miles into its averages.

So, sooner or later most everyone will be stocked up and wanting to cut contact with fellow humans i.e. social distancing.  Monday’s and Tuesday’s numbers suggest there will be ongoing craziness this week but that the peak may have already arrived, watch for ratios starting to go lower.  [Update: 3/18 looks like van peaked, with numbers falling off sharply the next week.]  The impact on freight rates will likely be mixed as FEMA and other emergency supplies will continue to move.  Volumes are important but urgent freight also demands higher prices.  Then there is the risk factor for older drivers, the majority of the workforce.  If supply of truck decreases commensurate with supply of loads, then rates could stay elevated.

As far as the Coronavirus impact on the freight marketplace – I can’t remember another time in recent history like this, as I wasn’t around in 1918.  I’ve just been in the industry since 1981.  Back in 1973, specifically 12/19/1973, Johnny Carson made a joke during his monologue about there being a nationwide toilet paper shortage – this sparked a panic and we did have a shortage of the tissue for about a week!  That’s the power of the media.

Call for Infrastructure Bill

At some point, freight volumes will drop sharply, a recession is coming unless we get a strong economic stimulus bill [Ed. – We got a Stimulus bill but 2Q numbers will still be horrendous].  This is where the trucking industry, backbone of commerce needs to have a united voice.  We need an infrastructure bill to replace outdated highways and deteriorating bridges and other critical needs at ports.

Both parties have made initiatives in the past year on the topic of infrastructure.  The big hold-up appears to be how to fund the bill and what ratio the Federal government is willing to pay.  Back in the Eisenhower years, the interstate highway system got built with 90-10 money, i.e. the Federal government funded 90% of the cost and the states just 10%.  President Trump proposed a mostly private sector $1.5 trillion dollar plan in the spring of 2019, that had the Federal share at just 20%.  The Democrats countered early this year with an 80-20 plan, but stalled on how to finance the package. 

Previously, discussions of a Federal tax hike on the price of motor fuels has been a non-starter.  We haven’t had a tax increase since 1993, but it’s time to find a funding mechanism and get a spending bill in place for the back half of 2020.  We are going to need it to pull out of the economic hit we are certain to take in the 2nd quarter.  If you take down time during the current crisis, take time to write your Congress folks as I’m sure we all understand the critical importance of strong infrastructure to keep commerce flowing.

Please stay safe out there.  A big “Thank You” to truckers continuing to haul goods, despite increased health risks.  Elsewhere I’ve commented on the need for market discipline and each trucker needs to carefully consider the offer versus waiting for the right load.  They will be out there and DAT tools can help you find them.

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Mark Montague, worked for DAT Solutions from 2009-2019, advising on the design of the RateView pricing tool.  Prior to joining DAT, Mark worked in transportation and logistics, twice holding the position of General Manager of trucking operations.  He earned an MBA in transportation management in 1981 from Indiana University.


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Veg-Fresh Farms to Market Redlands Foothill’s Citrus

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A partnership has been formed between Veg-Fresh Farms of Corona, CA and citrus grower-packer Redlands Foothill Groves, allowing Veg-Fresh to ship citrus the year-round.

Based in Redlands, CA, the citrus cooperative has over 80 growers of navels, Valencias, grapefruits and lemons, which are packed in the last operating packinghouse in San Bernardino County, according to a news release.

“In addition, being located just 30 miles from our Corona facility, it provides our customers the logistic advantage that we have found so valuable being located in the Inland Empire,” Veg-Fresh managing partner Dino Cancellieri Jr. said in the release.

The partnership will expand retail and foodservice opportunities, Veg-Fresh Farms citrus director Jacob Garcia said, referring to the 96-year-old Redlands Foothill Groves as a “storied packinghouse” that has continued to invest in fruit-grading technologies to improve packing.

Veg-Fresh packs under the Veg-Fresh Farms, Crystal Cove Berry Farms and Good Life Organic labels.

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Inaugural Allen Lund Legacy Award Presented to Bill Bess

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Bill Bess, director of carrier development for The Allen Lund Company of La Canada Flintridge, CA has been awarded the inaugural Allen Lund Legacy Award.

The new award, given to Bess at the company’s recent annual managers’ meeting and awards banquet, recognizes employees who exemplify the leadership qualities and character of company founder Allen Lund, according to a news release.

Bess said Lund has been the most influential person in his life.

“It was his example as a businessman, a family man and a Christian that has guided most of my personal decisions over the last 35 years,” Bess said when he accepted the award, according to the release. “He set the bar high and encouraged you to be the best that you could be.”

Allen Lund’s wife, Kathie Lund, announced Bess as the recipient.

“I am so proud of all of our employees and I can say with confidence Allen would be as well,” she said, according to the release. “After much reflection with the family, we created this award to continue Allen’s legacy and recognize a truly outstanding employee that exemplifies his qualities.”

Mr. Lund died in April 2018.

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PHOTO:
Bill Bess was recently honored with the inaugural Allen Lund Award. Anna (Lund) Clapp (from left), Kathie Lund, Bess and his wife Gaye, Christina (Lund) Doerfler and Natalie (Lund) Peterson attended the award ceremony.

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Pandemic Heroes: Thanks to Our Brave and Patriotic Men and Women

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Facebook:

Nicole RumseyMarch 20 ·  My view pulling into work this morning. These trucks all rolled in last night to load produce heading out across the country! I’m honored to be part of the amazing produce industry. God bless our truck drivers, provide them with safety & health as they do their part to keep our country going!

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HoS Rules for Emergency Food Transport are Waved by President Trump

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Semi-truck being driven on highway. Selective focus on truck.

A national emergency has been declared by President Donald Trump due to the coronavirus COVID-19 and waived the hours of service rules for truck drivers transporting emergency supplies of food.

It’s the first time since the rules were enacted in 1930 that they have been suspended.

The March 13 emergency declaration covers “food for emergency restocking of stores,” as well as medical equipment, hand sanitizer, masks, and other items. The waiver remains in effect until midnight April 12 or when President Trump terminates it, if sooner.

The waiver grants emergency relief form the hours of service rules. Those rules still apply for routine deliveries and mixed loads that include “essential supplies” that are not being transported in support of emergency relief efforts, according to the declaration. Drivers must start the clock when they’re dispatched to “begin operations in commerce.”

The declaration does not define what are emergency relief efforts versus a return to “interstate commerce” not supporting relief efforts for drivers supplying retailers. It does not specific if the waiver covers fresh produce and other foods being transported to processing facilities.

President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and other White House officials participated in a call with retailers and industry groups on March 15.

According to published reports, executives of Walmart, Aldi, Whole Foods, Wegmans, Publix and other retailers participated.

Greg Ferrara, CEO of the National Grocers Association, welcomed the opportunity to speak to White House officials.

“While local, independent grocers are currently experiencing an unprecedented demand in store traffic and for product and goods, we continue to work closely with the president and our federal, state and local officials nationwide to ensure the resilience of both the food supply chain and our local economies,” according to a statement from Ferrara.

“Our industry has faced emergencies before from hurricanes to earthquakes, and fires to floods,” he said in the statement. “Grocers are experienced and prepared to continue serving their communities and employees as our members do each and every day.”

The Food Industry Association (FMI) also released a statement, ensuring the “viability of the supply chain and the availability of safe, affordable food.”

“We are resilient; our industry is working 24 hours a day to replenish and restock while ensuring the cleanliness of our stores and facilities,” FMI president and CEO Leslie Sarasin said in the statement. “We are seeking to be sensitive to the needs of all our customers and partners, including our WIC and SNAP shoppers and the food banks our stores support.”

Many grocery stores are expanding the hours they are closed to clean the store and restock shelves.

“As we continue to see an increase in customers, this temporary reduction in hours will allow us time to focus solely on store cleanliness and product availability,” according to a news release from St. Louis-based Schnucks. “Our supply partners and warehouse teams continue to work around the clock to ensure that product is available to our customers as quickly as possible.”

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Trans-Atlantic Shipments Uses Carrier’s New EverFRESH Technology

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SINGAPORE  – Carrier Transicold, with Chiquita, successfully completed live cargo shipments for the new EverFRESH® active controlled atmosphere system, transporting fully loaded containers of bananas from Panama to the Netherlands. Carrier Transicold is a part of Carrier, a leading global provider of innovative heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC), refrigeration, fire, security and building automation technologies.

Chiquita shipped bananas using 40-foot, high-cube containers equipped with Carrier Transicold PrimeLINE® refrigeration units. The EverFRESH systems were programmed to maintain oxygen levels at 5% and carbon dioxide at 4%. Temperature, gas and humidity concentrations were monitored continuously throughout the 17-day shipments.

Significantly, the containers used in the shipments were not new and had some degree of air leakage due to normal wear and tear, making them more representative of typical containers used throughout the global fleet. Positive-pressures generated by the installed EverFRESH system helped offset issues related to leakage from the existing containers.

“Through multiple trials, the EverFRESH system delivered on its promise to create a controlled atmosphere balance that could be sustained throughout the voyage,” said Stefano Di Paolo, president, Great White Fleet, Chiquita. “The speed at which the EverFRESH system reduced oxygen levels to slow ripening and its ability to maintain high humidity were impressive.”

Jim Taeckens, senior product manager, Global Container Refrigeration, Carrier Transicold, said, “In the shipments, container humidity levels were maintained as high as 90%, a feat other active atmosphere control systems can struggle with, which can potentially lead to a loss of fruit moisture content. We are pleased to have had the opportunity to work with Chiquita on this trial, successfully demonstrating the EverFRESH system’s ability to protect and preserve their valuable cargo en route to consumers in Europe.”

Introduced in November 2019, Carrier Transicold’s new EverFRESH system builds on the first generation EverFRESH system introduced 25 years ago. Today’s EverFRESH system continues to help preserve the quality of perishables beyond what refrigeration alone can do by actively managing oxygen and carbon dioxide levels to slow respiration and the natural ripening of the commodity inside. Moreover, it does so more affordably than the previous EverFRESH system. As an active system, it generates nitrogen to more quickly and responsively displace oxygen, rather than relying on respiration alone to gradually reduce oxygen levels.

The new EverFRESH system will be available in the first quarter for Carrier Transicold PrimeLINE refrigeration systems equipped with the Micro-Link® 5 controller option. For more information, visit www.transicold.carrier.com.

About Carrier Transicold

Carrier Transicold helps improve transport and shipping of temperature-controlled cargoes with a complete line of equipment and services for refrigerated transport and cold chain visibility. For more than 50 years, Carrier Transicold has been an industry leader, providing customers around the world with advanced, energy-efficient and environmentally sustainable container refrigeration systems and generator sets, direct-drive and diesel truck units, and trailer refrigeration systems. Carrier Transicold is a part of Carrier, a leading global provider of innovative HVAC, refrigeration, fire, security and building automation technologies. For more information, visit www.transicold.carrier.com. Follow Carrier on Twitter: @SmartColdChain.

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New Farm Partnership Between J&J Family and Lewis Taylor

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LOXAHATCHEE, FL – A new tag team enters the fresh produce ring. J&J Family of Farms, a locally grown, nationally-known marketer and distributor of fresh produce, announced a new partnership with Tifton, Georgia-based Lewis Taylor Farms. With a new alliance formed, Lewis Taylor Farms brings superior production with 6,500 acres of produce as well as 81 greenhouses for 275 million vegetable transplants and 65 million pine tree seedlings.

According to the press release, J&J’s new partnership with Lewis Taylor will expand its portfolio significantly in the form of greens, broccoli, mini watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew. Lewis Taylor, in turn, gains a powerful ally in the peppers, cucumbers, squash, and eggplant categories.

Lewis Taylor began farming operations in the 1930s and is now one of the largest privately-owned vegetable and greenhouse operations in the Southeast. Known for its focus on sustainable agriculture, Lewis Taylor Farms maintains the highest quality and standards to ensure the best product reaches customers.

Together, the J&J Family of Farms and Lewis Taylor Farms have more than 100 years of combined experience specializing in fresh produce and innovation. J&J Family of Farms is strategically positioned as a national supplier, with a robust line of products offered year-round to meet growing customer demand.

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Data from Research Shows Organic Strawberry Growth in 2019

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Organic strawberries continue to gain popularity with consumers; in fact, marketers moved 6.2 million pounds more organic berries in 2018 than in 2017. This is according to data from IRI/FreshLook Marketing.

More than one-tenth of sales of the fruit came from organic sales in 2018, even though the average retail price of organic strawberries fell 17 cents during that 12-month period.

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Periodic purchases of organic strawberries did not vary much when studying income; age played a bigger factor. Shoppers younger than age 40 were twice as likely to always buy organic strawberries as those age 50-58, and the gap doubled again for those age 59 and older.

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When considering region, Western shoppers were the most likely to buy organic strawberries at least some of the time, followed by those in the Northeast—a trend that continues from last year.

Consumers continue to look for organic strawberries; in fact, marketers moved 6.2 million pounds more organic berries in 2018 than in 2017, according to data from IRI/FreshLook Marketing. More than one-tenth of sales of the fruit came from organic sales in 2018, even though the average retail price of organic strawberries fell 17 cents during that 12-month period.

Periodic purchases of organic strawberries did not vary much when studying income; age played a bigger factor. Shoppers younger than age 40 were twice as likely to always buy organic strawberries as those age 50-58, and the gap doubled again for those age 59 and older.

When considering region, Western shoppers were the most likely to buy organic strawberries at least some of the time, followed by those in the Northeast—a trend that continues from last year.

Asian consumers comprised the most likely group to buy organic strawberries periodically, followed by Hispanic consumers. Asians were also the most likely to buy strawberries as exclusively organic.  
Families with children living at home were a bit more likely to always buy organic berries, at 11%, than those without kids, at 8%.  

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