Everyone is talking about the ELD mandate that goes into effect this December or potentially delayed to Spring 2018. From my perspective, the discussion centers on who will be compliant and who will not. We should be talking about how this simply enforces the Hours of Service (HOS) and its inane “one size fits all” solution that is bad for the industry.
To determine safety based just on the number of hours a driver is on duty and not take into account miles driven, conditions, places to park, loading/unloading procedures, experience of the driver, cross-country vs local deliveries and a host of other variables leads to a system that is unfair to the small cross country drivers who need some relief from the “system”. Hours of Service needs to be changed and the ELD mandate will only make the faulty HOS that much worse.
The biggest flaw in this system is drivers and carriers are compensated based on miles traveled, as almost every load booked has the revenue broken down into what the load pays per mile, but the compliance mechanism is based on HOURS in service. This will lead to drivers pushing harder to cover more miles in the allotted hours. This could lead to roads being less safe as drivers will be pushed to their limits.
But the regulators know better right? It turns out they do not. The FMCSA has been a terrible failure. The unintended consequences of their regulations have made the highways less safe. Just this past year highway deaths in crashes involving trucks have gone up 5.4%. This is a huge jump. After the FMCSA enacted their CSA safety program intended to make the highways safer, the steady decline of deaths on the highway per miles driven has reversed and we see a continual increase. CSA made a driver with 5 million miles in the driver seat but with some tickets or log book violations less valuable to a trucking company than a new driver with no violations. No consideration was made for the driver that had 5 million miles without an accident. The regulations made the driver with 5 million safe miles the enemy along with many of our best drivers in the industry.
Now the same situation is happening with ELDs. Experienced and safer drivers will leave the industry as they are displeased with the government regulators trying to control every little thing they do on the road. Less experienced drivers will push harder to “make their miles” based on the hours left on their ELDs. At a minimum, the ELD mandate should be delayed until HOS regulations are improved and more discretion is given to the professionals driving the trucks.
VP, Support Operations
Allen Lund Company
Kenny Lund graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a degree in Business Administration and managed the refrigerated transportation division in Los Angeles for eight years, before shifting full time into managing the Information and Technology Department in 1997; becoming the Vice President of the department in 2002. In 2014 Kenny started working with the ALC Logistics division to sell the ALC Transportation Management System (TMS) to companies that manage refrigerated and dry transportation.
Reprinted from ALC’s Carrier Connection, October 19, 2007, Issue #164.
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New data is shedding light on where increased U.S. per capita consumption is coming from with fruit. Also, organic produce continues to show increasing popularity
Apples, some citrus varieties, blueberries and tropical fruit, have given a boost to U.S. fresh fruit per capita use, which grew a strong 3 percent in 2016.
The USDA’s fruit yearbook report revealed that total fresh fruit per capita consumption in 2016 was rated at 116.05 pounds, up 3 percent from 112.5 pounds in 2015.
2016 fresh citrus per capita use rose 6 percent to 24.02 pounds, up from 22.73 pounds in 2016. Fresh non-citrus per capita use was pegged at 92.03 pounds, 2 percent higher than 89.81 pounds in 2015.
2016 per capita use of fresh fruit commodities, with percent changed compared with 2015:
- Lemons, 4.15 pounds (+15%);
- Limes, 3.48 pounds (+15%);
- Mangoes, 2.96 (+14%);
- Blueberries, 1.77 pounds (+10%);
- Papayas, 1.43 pounds (+8%);
- Apples, 18.55 pounds (+7%);
- Oranges, 9.17 pounds (+6%);
- Pineapples, 7.28 pounds (+4%);
- Strawberries, 8.03 pounds (+4%);
- Pears, 2.76 (+4%);
- Grapes, 8.08 pounds (+3%);
- Tangerines, 5.28 pounds (+1%);
- Avocados, 7.08 pounds (-2%);
- Bananas, 27.55 pounds (-2%);
- Peaches, 2.86 (-5%); and
- Grapefruit, 1.94 pounds (-13%)
Study Shows Growth of Organics
A Nielsen Co. study shows organic produce grew 9 percent in dollars year-over-year and represented a 10 percent share of total produce as of last summer.
Consumers are said to be buying larger packages of organic berries, instead of smaller containers such as pints. Increase they are buying more 18-ounce to 2-pound containers.
Prepackaged salads continue to lead organic sales, with 3 percent year-on-year growth in 2017.
Consumers continue to seek out healthy meal alternatives such as kale, colored carrots, green cabbage and broccoli, with a mix of flavors and textures. Lettuce and berries continue to dominate the organic sales, combining for nearly a 30 percent sales increase in the U.S.
Apples and spinach are the next largest organic categories, with 9 and 8 pecent of sales.
Overall, only 14 categories make up 80 percent of organic produce sales, compared to 20 categories within the conventional space.
Such commodities as limes, cherries, beets, avocados, beans and lemons had 20 to 30 percent growth over the previous year, even though those items account for only 4 pecent of organic produce sales.
Larger categories also are growing. Among those, organic berries grew 29 percent year over year. Blackberries and blueberries are growing at a quicker rate (46 and 35 percent, respectively) than strawberries (26 percent). Organic bananas and apples are also growing, at 18 and 12 percent, respectively.
In Washington state, there is projected to be 50 percent more organic apples over the next season, an increase another 100 percent over the next two years. Apples are considered one of the easier crops to grow organically.
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By Wageningen University & Research
The banana has been severely affected by fungal diseases that can only be combated by using more and more plant protection products. In the last century, the much-loved Gros Michel banana variety was wiped out as a result of Panama disease. But now the replacement variety Cavendish – available in every supermarket – is at risk. At his inauguration as professor by special appointment for Tropical Phytopathology at Wageningen University & Research recently, Professor Gert Kema reveals what it will take to save the banana.
The Cavendish export banana does well in all types of soil and for years showed little susceptibility to Panama disease. For this reason, major banana producers planted the Cavendish en masse on the defunct Gros Michel plantations. The ‘agronomic miracle,’ as Cavendish has been dubbed, came to dominate the international market and has partly supplanted local varieties in India and East Africa, says Professor Kema. Moreover, retailers keep the kilo price to a minimum because bananas generate top turnovers in supermarkets. They are money machines, similar to cotton T-shirts. As with other “orphan crops,” a monetary investment has lagged behind in the financially thriving banana industry. No money has been put into basic scientific research. Now we know that was the wrong decision.
Return of Panama disease
Panama disease is caused by a Fusarium fungus, which has now developed an extremely virulent strain known as TR4 (Tropical Race 4), with disastrous consequences. What’s more, there are no seeds banks with propagating material for new varieties to replace the Cavendish. ˜We are back to square one,” concludes the professor. “Cavendish has one major drawback: there is no genetic variation. This means that the bananas of the big brands and fair-trade bananas are genetically identical. They are clones grown in extreme monocultures and are therefore all equally sensitive to fungal diseases,” he says in his inaugural address. A Tropical phytopathology – dragging orphan crops into the spotlight.
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“Name me a city or a state and I will tell you trucks have been tight,” states Bob Rose of the Allen Lund Company LLC.
Rose should know. He is the manager of the firm’s San Francisco office and has been with the transportation and logistics company 31 years. Based in LaCanada, CA, Allen Lund Company has 34 offices nationwide, working with 21,000 trucking companies, providing it with a keen pulse of truck availability.
The last three quarters of 2017 rates have been stronger, reflecting increased demand for equipment.
Allen Lund Company moves about 90,000 loads a year with a significant portion of this being perishables.
Rose doesn’t expect truck availability to improve any the rest of the year, and points out holidays such as Thanksgiving (November 23rd) always means increased demand for fresh fruits and vegetables and refrigerated trucks.
The ethnic population in the U.S. also is a factor with higher volume and demand for equipment to deliver product for their holiday observances.
“Not everyone can haul produce,” says Rose, in reference to the extra demands and knowledge required of drivers hauling perishables.
He also expresses concerns over the looming electronic logging device (ELD) requirement mandate, which the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance will begin phasing in December 18th unless it is delayed, as many hope. Plans to start using out-of-service criteria connected with the ELD mandate begins April 1st.
While the large carriers and their trucking associations tend to support ELDs, owner operators and small fleets often view it as limiting their ability to provide superior service, increases their costs of operation, and being another rule limiting their freedom of choice as professional drivers.
“Not a lot of the large carriers are hauling produce,” observes Rose. “Most of it is transported by owner operators and small trucking companies.”
He believes the tight truck supplies are resulting primarily due to the industry being at or near full capacity.
“We talk a lot about truck shortages, but with ELDs, we will feel it. But no one yet knows how ELDs will be enforced,” Rose says.
As a result, he notes Allen Lund Company is looking for ways to reduce the costly delays too often found at loading and unloading docks. They also are seeking improved routes for trucking since customers are maintaining lower inventories and want faster deliveries.
“I want to figure out how to pay drivers more so they can truck less and still support their families,” Rose concludes.
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New Zealand imported persimmons to the U.S. has been approved….Americold will a have new huge facility in the Chicago next year.
Americold, the cold storage and logistics company, is building a 15.5-million-cubic-foot automated facility with 57,600 pallet positions.
Located at Americold’s Rochelle, IL., campus near Chicago, it will increase Americold’s global capacity.
“Working with some of our key partners, we identified the opportunity to update and expand our campus just an hour east of Chicagoland, and to offer both automated and conventional storage and distribution options,” Americold president and CEO Fred Boehler said in a news release
The company broke ground on the facility Aug. 30, and plans are to complete it in December 2018.
The facility will be 140 feet high, housing an automated storage and retrieval system attached to a conventional warehouse.
Imports of Fresh Persimmons is Approved
By USDA APHIS
Washington, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is amending its regulations to allow the importation of fresh persimmons from New Zealand into the United States. After analyzing the potential plant pest risks, APHIS scientists determined that persimmons from New Zealand can be safely imported into the United States under a systems approach.
In August 2016, APHIS published a proposed rule to amend its regulations to allow the importation of fresh persimmons from New Zealand into the United States provided that they are produced in accordance with a systems approach. The final rule will publish in the Federal Register on October 3, 2017, and will become effective 30 days after publication on November 2, 2017.
A systems approach is a series of measures taken by growers, packers, and shippers that, in combination, minimize pest risks prior to importation into the United States. In this case, the systems approach requires orchard certification, orchard pest control, post-harvest safeguards, fruit culling, traceback, and sampling. In addition, the fruit must be treated with hot water or undergo modified atmosphere cold storage to kill any leafroller moth larvae. The persimmons must also be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate stating that they were produced under the systems approach and were inspected and found to be free of quarantine pests.
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by FirstFruits Marketing of Washington
YAKIMA, Wash. — Opal®, the highly-acclaimed apple creating a frenzy in the category, is sporting a new look for the 2017-2018 season along with a brand new consumer campaign that will have fans singing. Literally.
This season’s consumer campaign, entitled SupercrispiOpalicious, centers around a challenge issued to Opal fans to create and perform their own original song about why they love Opals. Launching late this fall, the public will be asked to vote on the top five performers selected by a panel of judges. The grand prize winner will be selected by both popular vote and FirstFruits judges and receive a prize package and featured spot on the Opal apple website.
The consumer favorite Opal apple boasts a bright yellow exterior, incredibly sweet flavor and distinctive crisp texture. Best of all, the apple is naturally non-browning, making it perfect for snacks, salads and lunchboxes. As of the 2016-2017 apple season, the Opal is among the ranks of the Top 20 varieties in the country.
Opal fans are some of the most passionate and vocal apple lovers I’ve ever seen,” said Chuck Zeutenhorst, general manager of FirstFruits. “The SupercrispiOpalicious campaign will give them an opportunity to engage with us in a very unique and interactive promotion.”
The familiar Opal logo received a facelift and a redesigned website will launch this fall to coincide with the release of the apples to the market.
FirstFruits represents Broetje Orchards, a leader in Washington organic apple production and an innovator in new varieties to the market, as well as Congdon Orchards. As the exclusive marketer of the Opal®, FirstFruits offers the variety in both organic and conventional options beginning in late October and expects supplies to last through June 2018.
# # #
About FirstFruits Marketing of Washington
FirstFruits Marketing is a collaborative apple marketing company owned by Ralph and Cheryl Broetje. Their growers share a commitment to producing high quality fruit while balancing the demands of purpose, people, planet and profit so that a portion of profits can be donated to non-profit missions supporting the underserved. For more Information, visit www.firstfruits.com
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Sunions is being touted as America’s first tearless sweet onion and it made its debut recently at the at the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit convention and exhibition in New Orleans.
Developed by Bayer Crop Science, the variety will soon be shipped to retailers, backed by an extensive marketing plan.
Sunions are marketed and distributed exclusively by Generation Farms. Lake Park, GA.; Onions 52. Syracuse, Utah; and Peri & Sons Farms, Yerington, Nev., according to a news release.
“This onion is the product of more than 30 years of research and development to produce an onion that actually decreased in pungency during storage,” Sunions breeder Rick Watson said.
A sensory panel of tasting experts with the authority to determine ship dates follows a protocol that includes flavor and tearlessness. Sunions will ship only after they are deemed ready by the panel, along with lab tests showing proper levels of volatile compounds.
“We’ve established a strict protocol with our sensory team not to allow the release of Sunions until they reach peak flavor and tearlessness,” Lyndon Johnson, crop manager for onions at Bayer Vegetable Seeds “We want to differentiate ourselves in the marketplace with a set of stringent quality requirements to maintain our brand promise.”
If the onions meet protocol, Adam Brady senior marketing manager for Golden Sun Marketing, said Sunions could be available at the start of November. Depending on supply and demand, Sunions may be marketed into March, just before the start of the Vidalia season, he said.
No more tears
Bayer researchers conducted research on the significance of tearlessness and found consumer support.
“Looking for ways to avoid tears when cutting onions is a big deal for consumers,” Don Goodwin, president of Golden Sun Marketing said. “A quick Google search will yield over 500,000 results, and YouTube videos on the topic have received more than 5 million views.”
The variety faced consumer panels at both the Bayer Sensory Lab and a third-party facility in the Ohio State University’s Sensory Evaluation Center, according to the release
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By Category Partners
Idaho Falls, ID – Why aren’t consumers eating more produce; and, how can the produce industry respond to meet their needs and bolster sales?
These are precisely the critical questions Category Partners (CP) and Beacon Research Solutions (BRS) sought to answer, in their just-released “Barriers to Purchase” study.
Understanding specific challenges the industry needs to overcome, in its sales and marketing efforts, is a key step in accelerating growth; particularly in today’s complex retail environment and among an ever-changing consumer base, which spans four generations and comprises diverse motivators. This is the intent of the “Barriers to Purchase” approach, which – opposite typical research – focuses first on what prevents consumers from buying, vs. triggers.
The study revealed a sizeable portion of shoppers, across a nearly 70-year age range, who aren’t consuming much produce – not even half of consumers eat produce daily and around 10% only eat weekly – and for a multitude of reasons (often, generation specific). The study also presented an opportunity, as all generations seemingly want to eat more produce; if the industry can respond to their unmet needs. The study identified 17 relevant barriers and possible implications, including:
Price/too expensive – even with an improving economy, price was the top barrier, selected by more than 50%. Price competitively and promote strategically, so consumers perceive value – and are incented – in their purchases
• Spoiling/inability to eat it all – ensure shoppers know how to select, store and use. Also consider package size in overcoming this barrier, as more consumers “right size” their purchases
• Poor appearance/quality/color – reinforce quality and related control practices throughout the supply chain (especially store-level rotation, culling and merchandising). Similarly, ensure
shoppers understand proper selection practices, per item (i.e., appearance is not the leading factor for all produce; consider shopper education for flavor, touch and smell)
• Preferred type/variety not available – establish awareness of shoppers’ preferences, provide a responsive assortment and avoid controllable out-of-stocks
• Packaging is too large and lack of bulk/loose items – U.S. households are shrinking, so ensure shoppers have a balanced choice
Related to the barriers, the study also pinpointed meaningful motivators, throughout shoppers’ decision-making process for produce. The results surprisingly indicated consumers – while planning for, and selecting, produce – may be slower to adhere to broad trends; like social media/blog use, convenience and veg-based diets. Study findings include:
• More consumers are deciding in store vs. planning
• When planning, shoppers are leaning toward traditional vehicles (ads/circulars, personal recipes, cookbooks), vs. newer sources (social media, blogs)
• Produce brings shoppers in store, with zero percent selecting home delivery as a purchase format
• Flavor, as a driver, is nearly as important as health
• While “locally grown,” “natural,” “organic” and “non-GMO” are top of mind for many, 31% of shoppers are not seeking this information
• Pescatarians, vegetarians and vegans receive much attention, but 95% of shoppers still are meat eaters
• Most consumers enjoy cooking, often devoting more than 30 minutes and several ingredients
CP & BRS worked with leading produce suppliers and commissions, including Domex Superfresh Growers, Chelan Fresh, Wada Farms, Duda Farm Fresh Foods, Farm Fresh Direct, B&C Fresh, International Fruit Genetics and the California Strawberry Commission, to conduct a multi-generational study. In June 2017, CP & BRS surveyed 4,000 produce shoppers nationwide – evenly split among Millennial, Generation X, Baby Boomer and Silent generations – to better understand what deters shoppers from eating and buying more produce; and what changes can be made to positively influence their behaviors
The study’s ultimate goal is to provide the industry actionable insights, both barriers and motivators, so all members – especially retailers and suppliers – can align to develop sales and marketing programs that connect with shoppers and strengthen consumption and sales. Stay tuned in coming weeks, as we’ll follow up with “Barriers to Purchase” findings specific to Millennials, Generation X, Baby Boomers and the Silent generation.
About Category Partners:
Aa nationally recognized resource, among produce companies and retailers, for delivering actionable business/consumer insights, marketing/sales plans and technology/data solutions. Category Partners is grower/shipper owned and headquartered in Idaho Falls, ID, with offices in Denver, Atlanta and Laguna Hills, CA.
About Beacon Research Solutions:
a leading consumer research and data analysis firm, who works with clients to deliver need-based insights. Beacon’s methods for identifying and evaluating key business insights, include: consumer surveys; focus groups; syndicated research; category reviews; trade research; in-store testing; loyalty-card data analysis and promotion/pricing analysis.
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By Pure Flavor
Leamington, ON – With demand for its premium greenhouse vegetables continuing to grow, Pure Flavor® announced recently the investment of more than $105 million USD to build a 75-acre state of the art high tech greenhouse facility & distribution center in Peach County, GA south of Atlanta.
The first crop of Tomatoes-on-the-Vine and Long English Cucumbers will be planted in Summer 2018 to be harvested in mid fall that year.
“We at the Georgia Department of Agriculture and Georgia Grown are proud to welcome Pure Flavor® to our great state”, stated Gary W. Black, Georgia Agriculture Commissioner. “I am confident this innovative venture will prove to be a real asset to Peach County and to Georgia’s entire agricultural sector. Pure Flavor® has indeed found the ideal location for this type of operation and I look forward to working with them as they continue to grow and expand”, said Black.
The new greenhouse complex, located just 90 minutes south of Atlanta and less than 3 miles from I-75, will grow tomatoes & cucumbers year-round. Coupled with Pure Flavor’s existing farms throughout Canada, USA, and Mexico, growing in Georgia will further expand the company’s reach along the eastern seaboard as far north as Virginia, west to Texas, and all the way down to south Florida with premium greenhouse grown vegetables.
“The strategic investment in Peach County, GA is one that will not only expand our acreage but also creates opportunities to strengthen & grow our retail & foodservice partnerships across the southeast with Georgia grown vegetables”, said Jamie Moracci, President. Moracci & his partners spent nearly 2 years researching locations across the USA for this expansion. With the Midwest region, already over saturated with a variety of projects and an abundance of product, developing in Georgia with the first significant high-tech build of its kind in the state, is going to be a game changer.
Key Project Facts:
- Location: Fort Valley (Peach County), Georgia – 3 miles off I-75
- Start of the art, high tech 75-acre greenhouse complex
- Built in three (3) phases of 25 acres over 5 years
- Investment: $105 million
- Distribution area: Georgia, Florida, North/South Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Virgina, Kentucky, Missouri, Texas
- New 75,000 sq. ft. distribution center on site to service the southeast
- Installation of High Pressure Sodium (HPS) lighting to assist with year-round growing
- Phase 1 commodities: Tomatoes & Cucumbers
- Creating 200+ new year-round job opportunities over 5 years
- Largest facility of its kind in southeastern USA
“Built in 3 phases of 25 acres over the next 5 years, the financial investment we are making further demonstrates our goal of growing our business in a significant region and not looking at the investment as just growing in a state”, said Jeff Moracci, Chief Financial Officer. With a potential reach of nearly 80 million people in less than a 24 hrs. drive, a regionally grown message featuring the Georgia Grown emblem will help leverage the brand with consumers. The first phase of the project of 25 acres broke ground in September.
International greenhouse manufacturer Havecon has been retained to build the facility in Georgia. Using state of the growing systems, Pure Flavor® will have diffused roof glass installed to take advantage of the southern US, nutrient rich sunlight during peak season. Pure Flavor® will also be installing High Pressure Sodium (HPS) lights to be used as supplemental energy to help grow through the winter months.
““A leader in the global marketplace, Georgia has become a hotspot for international companies who are looking to expand their footprint in the U.S.,” said Pat Wilson, Commissioner, Georgia Department of Economic Development. “Pure Flavor® is taking a highly-specialized, dynamic approach to agriculture that our workforce is well suited to support. With a solid logistics infrastructure and robust network of companies, Pure Flavor® will have all they need to thrive in our state. Congrats to Peach County on this incredible win.”
Under the Pure Flavor® brand, the company grows & markets an extensive variety of greenhouse tomato, bell pepper, cucumber, eggplant, and living lettuce that is grown in Canada, USA, and Mexico. Founded in 2003, Pure Flavor® has experienced significant growth year over year with its expanding product offering. With distribution centers strategically located in Leamington, ON, Detroit, MI, San Antonio, TX, and soon to be Peach County, GA, Pure Flavor® provides year-round availability of premium greenhouse grown vegetables.
“Having Pure Flavor invest in Peach County is proof positive that our community is attractive to newcomers and major international companies’, said BJ Walker, Executive Director, Development Authority of Peach County. “It is confirmation that we possess all of the necessary qualities and assets that are ideal for a business to succeed and grow and we are thrilled and excited to welcome Pure Flavor into the Peach County family!”, said Walker.
“Being strategically located in Georgia with our new greenhouse will enable Pure Flavor® to significantly extend its reach to open more distribution channels along the southeastern seaboard while further supplying existing key retail & foodservice partners across the southern US”, commented Matt Mastronardi, Executive Vice-President.
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Expansion plans have been announced by BrightFarms and Metro Distribution.
BrightFarms has broke ground October 16th on its fourth greenhouse, this one in Wilmington, OH.
The facility will be 120,000 square feet and supply salad greens and herbs to retailers in the Cincinnati, Dayton and Columbus metro areas, according to a news release.
Based in New York City, BrightFarms envisions building greenhouses around the U.S. to provide local product.
“There is a large opportunity for the supermarket produce department to grow if they can source locally, CEO Paul Lightfoot said in the release. “BrightFarms sees a clear opportunity in the market to expand our model for local produce across the country.”
BrightFarms continues to report increasing interest in its product, as it did earlier this year when an early finish for leafy greens in Yuma, Ariz., and a late start in Salinas, Calif., resulted in gaps in supply.
“We have seen demand for our local greens climb sharply as retailers have come to rely on the stability and consistency of our product,” Lightfoot said.
According to its website, Bright Farms has been working in urban agriculture since 2006. Since 2011, the company has been on a quest to bring commercial scale urban agriculture to the market, take our farms and the industry to the next level, and change the way we eat as a society.
Metro Inc. announced a projected $400 million investment over six years in its Ontario distribution network. The firm will modernize its operations in Toronto between 2018 and 2023 by building a new fresh distribution facility and a new frozen distribution facility, both of which will leverage technological improvements like automation.
The company’s distribution network in Toronto was built mostly over 50 years ago and no longer meets the evolving needs of the business.
Metro currently operates six distribution centers in Ontario. Four centers are located in Toronto and two in Ottawa. Together, they provide employment to over 1,500 employees. Metro’s
decision to modernize and automate a part of its distribution network will result in an anticipated loss of approximately 180 full-time and 100 part-time positions starting in 2021.
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