Archive For The “News” Category

Container Capacity is Increasing at Port of Savannah

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SavannahThe Port of Savannah will soon see its container capacity increase with the addition of four cranes to help move those containers.  The port is the largest single container facility in the U.S.

The four Neo-Panamax cranes arrived in late November, bringing the total number of the cranes at the facility to 30. Six more cranes are scheduled to arrive in 2020, and when all are operational, the port will be able to move 1,300 containers an hour, according to a news release.

“(As) we reflect on all the success we’ve enjoyed, we also look forward to the new era of prosperity these cranes will help usher in,” Georgia Ports Authority board chairman Jimmy Allgood said in the release.  “Our considerable investments today ensure Georgia’s ports reputation for excellence.”

Upgrades to the Mason Mega Rail Terminal will double the Port of Savannah’s annual rail capacity to 1 million container lifts, expanding the port’s access to the Midwest.

The Neo-Panamax cranes can lift containers 152 feet above the dock and the booms reach out 192 feet. Each crane can lift 72 tons. The cranes operate over nine berth spaces.

All of the new cranes, a $47-million investment, will be operational by April.

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First Chilean Fruits at Port of L.A.; Plentiful U.S. Apple Shipments are Seen This Year

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L.A. is now receiving imported Chilean fruit….U.S. apple shipments are cranking up with the New Year.DSCN0303

The port of Los Angeles received its first breakbulk vessel shipment of Chilean summer fruit just before Christmas.

The ship unloaded 227,000 boxes of fresh cherries, peaches, nectarines, apricots and table grapes on December 22.  The fruit was primarily delivered by truck to North American markets west of the Rockies, from Southern California to Vancouver, British Columbia, and reaching into West Texas.

The Chilean fresh fruit import season usually runs from December to April.  Last season, the port handled more than 82,000 metric tons of Chilean fresh fruit, which accounts for nearly 20 percent of all fruits and vegetables imported through Los Angeles.

U.S. Apple Shipments

There will be plenty of apple shipments in 2018, although U.S. volume will not be setting any records, according to a report from the U.S. Apple Association, based in Vienna, VA.

National apple volume, projected by the USDA in 2017, was for 248.7 million bushels, which would be below the record shipments of 281.3 million in 2014 and 268.4 million in 2016.  The 2016 crop was the fourth-largest of all-time.

When the USDA’s estimated 2017 crop of 248.7 million bushels is included, the five-year rolling average of annual apple production stands at 257 million bushels, which is more than 2 million bushels greater than the previous record 5-year average of 255 million bushels in the period from 1994-98.

Washington led U.S. apple shipments with an estimate of 142.3 million bushels designated for the fresh market, according to USDA.  New York was next, at 28 million, and Michigan, third, at 20.3 million.

A year ago, Michigan was No. 2-ranked in production, behind Washington, with 28 million boxes.

Washington state is shipping about 2500 truckload equivalents per week, while New York and Michigan are shipping around 150 truck equivalents of apples weekly.

Apples from the Yakima Valley and Wenatchee Valley of Washington – grossing about $8000 to New York City.


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Mucci Farms is Building 3-Phase Greenhouse Project in Ohio

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mucciohioBy Mucci Farms

KINGSVILLE, ON  – Mucci Farms (the “company”) recently announced a large-scale, multi-year investment in Huron, Ohio.  The company confirmed  it was starting a multi-year, three phase construction project which will cover a total of 60 acres and feature the newest and latest state of the art greenhouses equipped with grow lights which extend the growing season.  The constructed facility will also include a 272,000 sq. ft. distribution warehouse to support the company’s growing U.S. customer base.  The company has already broken ground on the first phase which is the construction of a 24-acre range and expects produce from this facility will be available as soon as March 2018.

This new, state-of-the-art facility will include the latest grow light technology which simulates sunlight by providing or supplementing the necessary light to optimize plant growth.  The use of this grow technology allows for year-round production, keeping our produce – “always in season”.

Mucci Farms already has a sustainable, successful business with a well recognized brand with a number of large U.S. retailers.

Expanding operations to include a U.S. growing facility was strategically done to meet U.S. customer demands for locally grown, year round, fresh and favourful produce.

Making this investment in Ohio allows us to reduce the food miles for our U.S. retailers and gives our U.S. consumers the confidence that they can bring fresh and flavourful Mucci Farms’ produce into their homes all year round.

The company has been actively exploring a number of U.S. expansion opportunities for the past 18 months and the site located in Huron, Ohio was a perfect fit due to its easy access to a number of current and potentially new retailer distribution facilities as well as its proximity to our corporate headquarters in Kingsville, ON.

The company has enjoyed establishing a number of working partnerships during the development stages of this expansion with the City of Huron and Erie County officials and the Company looks forward to what it expects will be a number of promising opportunities for continued community partnerships ahead.

The company anticipates  when the first phase of construction is completed it will employ up to 100 full-time positions. The company expects this number will increase to 250 full-time positions by the completion of the third phase of construction.

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As We Plow Right into 2018, Wishing You Much Happiness and Health!

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BillMartinDaneBasham (2)I’m not sure where 2017 went, but ready or not I’m plowing right into 2018!

I’ve been very blessed in many ways, one of which is the way continues to have more folks signing up for our free subscriptions.  This tells me you are finding worthwhile information here relating to produce hauling, as well as other news such as the health benefits of eating fresh fruits and vegetables.

There have now been over 1900 posts published on the website since it was launched on January 12, 2012.  Six years! Where has the time gone!

The primary sponsors of HaulProduce –  Allen Lund Co., Cool Runnings, and DMTB, I have personally known the owners a combined 105 years!  They are all good, honest people that I can’t say enough good things about.  The bottom line is they care about maintaining impeccable business reputations and they truly care about the trucking industry and particularly the hard working Americans that deliver well over 9o percent of the fresh produce to destinations across North America.

So, here is a shout out to 3 of the finest men I’ve ever known – Allen Lund, Fred Plotsky and Jimmy DeMatteis.

It looks like we are entering another cycle in the trucking industry.  If you are old enough you have witnessed several of these over the years.  The economy slows down, excess equipment is out there and freight rates plunge.  Luckily, it looks like what started in 2017 is just really getting started with this new cycle in trucking.  The economy is picking up, equipment and qualified drivers are harder to find, and freight rates are on the rise.

Of course, we can always count on the federal and state governments to put a damper on things, particularly with more rules, regulations and taxes, most of which seem to do more harm than good, and often increase costs of operation.

I continue to be amazed, especially with the owner operators and small fleet owners, that continue to persevere.

This is wishing each of you much happiness and health in the New Year. – Bill Martin





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How Produce Trucking was Affected in 2017 by Weather

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Tk12017 had its share of bad weather conditions of different varieties that presented challenges for produce truckers.

Heavy snows early in the year resulted in collapsing buildings in the Northwest holding onions, among other items.  During the spring a Southeastern killer freeze wiped out the majority of peaches and blueberries.

On the Gulf Coast and in Florida two hurricanes were devastating.

On the positive side, winter rains eased the California drought significantly.

Citrus hauling was adversely affected with Irma causing at least $760 million in losses to citrus, with many growers losing at least half of their crop.   Vegetable and strawberry shipments also were adversely affected by Irma, but not nearly as much.

Banana imports by boat were diverted from Galveston to Florida ports after the storm.  The port of Houston remained closed for months.  The 50 inches of rain dumped on the Gulf Coast area was the most on record in the U.S. for a single storm.

In Georgia, a March freeze knocked out 70 percent of the peach shipments and an even higher percentage of blueberries.

Wave after wave of late-winter rains flooded fields, caused crop delays and played havoc with planting schedules and ultimately produce shipping schedules in California.  However, Salinas Valley produce grower and shippers were so desperate for rain they weren’t complaining.

The rains brought a much-needed cleansing of the soil in the Salinas Valley by helping to leach unwanted salts below the farmed portions of the soil.  Still California needs another two or three years like 2017 to end its drought.

In January 2017 in the Treasure Valley region of Western Idaho and Eastern Oregon, two major snow storms in less than two weeks resulted in collapsing of a number of onion storage sheds and other structures.  At least eight onion companies lost one or more buildings, while at least five had three or more cave in.


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Bamford Produce is Buying All Electric Class 8 Big Rigs

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Tk6Bamford Produce Co. Ltd., based in Mississaugua, ON, announced it has reserved the all-electric Class 8 Tesla trucks, as part of its long-term environmental sustainability vision to reduce its carbon footprint.

“As one of Ontario’s most long-standing produce distributors with more than 75 delivery and transport trailer vehicles in operation across the province on a daily basis, we recognized the opportunity that the new eco-friendly Tesla trucks presented in enabling our business to put in motion a plan to significantly reduce our carbon emissions,” said Steve Bamford, owner of Bamford Produce and Group of Cos.

Although production of the Tesla all electric trucks is expected to begin in 2019, Bamford Produce is confident in the decision to secure the new trucks.

“The Tesla trucks align well with our commitment to continually enhance our operations towards more sustainable business practices, as well as our dedication to provide safe and fresh produce and efficient distribution services to our customers,” said Bamford.  “We anticipate that this investment will have an immense impact on our efficiencies and savings in the areas of fuel costs and fleet maintenance, and more importantly, will ensure a greater measure of safety on the roads for our trucking employees, in particular for those servicing the long haul routes.”

Tesla semi trucks can operate for 500 miles on a single charge, and the company guarantees zero breakdowns for 1 million miles and estimates a 20 percent reduction in costs when compared to diesel trucks.

About Bamford Produce

The Bamford Family is one of founders of the Ontario Food Terminal in 1954.

Before 1954, the hub for produce wholesaling was St. Lawrence Market in downtown Toronto. This is where James Bamford and Sons Produce was located. The company has been thriving since 1881. This translates to 132 years of experience.

After years away from the Ontario Food Terminal, The Bamford Family returned in 2003 with the acquisition of the Fresh Advancements stall.

Fresh Advancements marks the 4th Generation of Bamfords in the produce industry. Since 2003, the single stall has expanded to three stalls. Together with Freshline Foods, our processing and fresh cut division, along with Bamford Produce, our food service distribution division, the Bamford Family is uniquely positioned to service wholesalers, retailers and the food service industry

Today we are made up 6 companies that allow us strategic vertical integration that helps us maximize efficiencies and offer all our customers a very unique diversified model. These include; Farming/Growing and Packing Operations in Ontario, with Bay Growers and Bamford Family Farms located in Georgian Bay.

We also have our own Freight Division, FA International Logistics, which includes our own fleet of tractor-trailers specifically delivering product to our companies direct from growers all over North America, and global DSD services for retail and food service.

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Story of the Birth of Jesus

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angelsCenturies ago, in the city of Nazareth, a good and kind young woman named Mary was engaged to Joseph, the local carpenter.  Mary was a saintly woman who lived every day in an effort to please God.

One day, God’s archangel Gabriel suddenly appeared before Mary in her home.  “You are highly favored by God and are blessed among women” he said.

Mary was troubled and fearful, but the angel comforted her.  “Do not be afraid for you have found favor with God.  You shall give birth to a baby boy and you shall name him Jesus.  He shall be great and his reign shall have no end.”

Mary looked at the angel with astonishment.  “But how is this possible?” Mary asked.  “I am not yet married.”

The angel quickly answered.  “The Holy Spirit will perform a miracle, and the holy child born of this miracle shall be called the Son of God.”

To Mary’s surprise the angel had more exciting news.  “Your cousin Elizabeth, whom many thought too old and incapable of having a child, is already in her sixth month with her son.  For with God, nothing shall be impossible.”

Mary kneeled before the angel and bowed her head.  “I am the Lord’s servant and believe all that has been told to me.”

The angel then disappeared, and Mary was once again alone.

*    *    *    *    *    *

In those days the government of Rome, ruled by Caesar Augustus, decided to tax everyone in the world.  All were required to return to their home town to be counted.  So, Joseph left Nazareth with Mary, his betrothed, to be taxed in Bethlehem.

Mary was now great with child, and the long, hot and tiring trip to Bethlehem was a difficult one for her.  Just after they arrived, Mary began to feel the pains of birth.  Joseph pleaded with the local innkeeper to give them shelter, but no rooms were available.  “But you may use the stable,”  the innkeeper helpfully suggested.  Faced with the imminent birth, Mary and Joseph settled down in the stable surrounded by curious animals.

That night, a blessed miracle happened.  Baby Jesus was born!  Mary cuddled her newborn son as Joseph looked on with wonder.  After a while, they wrapped him in a blanket and placed him in a warm, straw-filled manger for all to honor.

The heavenly angels spread the word of this tiny Savior’s birth to shepherds and kings alike.  All of those who heard the story rejoiced that Jesus, the King of Kings and the Son of God had come to cleanse the world of its sins.

Royalty and peasants, believers all, followed the star that shone over Bethlehem to offer gifts and kneel before the new born king.



And the angel said to them, Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  Luke 2:10-11, ESV

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Yellow Dragon Fruit is Now Being Imported by U.S.

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YellowDragonThe yellow dragon fruit (pitaya) from Ecuador is in the early stages of proving its appeal to the American consumer.

Since coming to the U.S. market for the first time this fall, the yellow-skinned, white-fleshed fruit has made strong early impressions, said Robert Schueller, director of public relations for World Variety Produce in Vernon, CA, which markets the Meliss’s brand.

“It is not a fruit that you can find at every store, and it is coming in on a limited basis,” Schueller said.

The fruit is expensive, selling at about $8 per pound.

“We will see if America will embrace it as we start to get distribution to major metropolitan areas,” he said.

HLB Specialties also started with its first shipments of yellow pitaya from Ecuador this fall, and excitement for the fruit is high, said Homero Levy de Barros, president and CEO of HLB Specialties LLC, Fort Lauderdale, FL.

“We have been waiting for over 20 years for the ability to bring the yellow pitaya from Ecuador to the U.S.,” Levy de Barros said, noting that USDA cleared the fruit in October, just before the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit show and exhibition last October in New Orleans.

“Most people don’t know this fruit, and when they taste it they find it very refreshing and very sweet,” he said.

The fruit, boasting a brix (sweetness or sugar content) of 24, also is an excellent source of fiber, he said.

“The yellow pitaya is sweeter than its cousin in the cactus fig family, the red dragon fruit. The dragon fruit only has a brix between 8 and 10, so the yellow pitaya’s 24 brix score makes the taste difference like night and day,” Levy de Barros said.

The yellow pitaya is air-shipped to the U.S. and marketed in a 5.5 pound carton and sold year-round from Ecuador, he said.

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Golden Gate Produce Market Completes $8 Million Transformation

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DSCN3786+1By The Golden Gate Produce Market

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, CA  — The Golden Gate Product Market, the largest and busiest produce terminal in Northern California, recently announced the completion of a major upgrade to the facility that included a series of infrastructure, environmental, food safety and traffic improvements.

The enhancements include installation of solar panels for the entire market, energy efficiency upgrades, improved cold chain food storage management and worker safety systems, as well as smoother traffic flow within the facility, which is a mile from San Francisco International Airport on Highway 101.

To recognize the completion of the project, the Market and Vista Solar, the Bay Area firm that designed and managed the installation of the solar panels, hosted a celebration with customers and employees recently.  The event featured remarks from U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier, South San Francisco Mayor Pradeep Gupta, and Produce Board Member Steve Hurwitz, CEO and Founder of Bay Area Herbs.

“The improvements to the Golden Gate Producer Market set the stage for our continued success for decades to come,”  said Peter Carcione, President of the Golden Gate Produce Market.  “These investments expand our capability to deliver the highest-quality fruits, vegetables and specialty produce to deliver to business and consumers across Northern California.”

The 742,000-square foot facility in South San Francisco currently employs 475 workers. Twenty-three independent and family-owned businesses operate at the Market, including wholesalers, jobbers, commission merchants, brokers, foodservice distributors, processors and one restaurant. More than 15 million packages move through the Market each year.

The enhancements were made after extensive market research and feedback with customers and businesses operating at the market. The Market’s seven-member board approved the following:

  • The installation of solar panels that will virtually reduce the Market’s need to draw energy from the power grid
  •  Upgraded electronic, water and sewage systems
  •  Improved traffic flow within the facility
  •  A number of worker safety upgrades, including better lighting and loading dock safeguards
  •  Improved cold chain storage management to ensure quality, freshness and food safety
  •  A complete makeover of the building’s exterior, including new signage, and expanded parking

About The Golden Gate Produce Market

The Golden Gate Produce Market provides fruits and vegetables and specialty produce to more than 15 million people in Northern California. The Market specializes in providing product to a wide range of demographics, including Caucasian, Asian, Latino, India and Middle Eastern consumers.

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Superior Fruit to Expand Strawberry Farming, Shipping Operations in California

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dscn5995By Murray Wise Capital LLC

OXNARD, Calif. — Superior Fruit LLC has entered into an agreement with Eclipse Berry Farms LLC, advised by Murray Wise Capital LLC, to assume certain agricultural leases to expand its California strawberry growing operations.  Superior has been formed by Bobby Jones and his brother RC Jones, long-term California growers, and will begin farming operations in Oxnard, Santa Maria and Castroville, California.

Founded in the early 1990’s by Norman Gilfenbain and Robert Wiviott, Eclipse Berry Farms is one of the largest vertically integrated grower, packer, shipper, marketer and processors of fresh-picked strawberries.  Mr. Gilfenbain, who managed the day to day business of the Company until his death in 2013, started marketing produce under Eclipse’s Cal Fruit label in 1963.  Mr. Wiviott then succeeded Gilfenbain as the CEO of the Company until he passed away in January of this year.

According to Rudy Garza, President & CFO of Eclipse Berry Farms, “This transaction with Superior Fruit is the first step towards an orderly downsizing of the Company’s operations.  The management and employees of Eclipse look forward to working closely with Bobby and his team to ensure a smooth transition of these leases. At this time, Eclipse will continue growing, marketing and selling berries from Santa Maria, Castroville and Mexico and processing and marketing fruit from its Oxnard and Castroville facilities.”

Eclipse Berry Farms was advised on this transaction by Robert Marcus Esq., Chief Restructuring Officer for the Eclipse Berry Farms and Murray Wise Capital LLC as exclusive financial advisor.

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