Archive For The “Trucking Reports” Category

Imported Mexican Produce Shipments Take Big Hit Due to Weather

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Mexican fresh produce volume will be down well into March because of fewer plantings, the shift to other vegetables and bad weather. And by this late in the winter shipping season, volume tends to gradually wind down anyway.

Foul weather and cold temperatures have plagued major Mexican growing areas since late last year.

Sun Fed of Rio Rico, AZ has no doubt there will be less volume in the coming weeks. The company has many crops in the Guaymas Sonora area being affected by the cold.

Sonora is a Mexican state, in the northwestern Mexico region. Sonora borders the states of Chihuahua to the east, Sinaloa to the south, and Baja California to the northwest.

Some growers lost entire crops. As a result, shortages many be felt well into April. Products most affected at Sun Fed by weather include soft squashes, cucumbers and green bell peppers.

Likewise, Ciruli Bros. of Rio Rico relates volume is “way, way down with no short term recovery in sight.

In early February, for example, Ciruli Bros. usually has seven coolers running, but only had four in operation. Vegetables that normally would be ready for harvest the first week of March, we up to two weeks behind in growth.

Items affected in the northern part of Mexico include zucchini, yellow squash, green beans, cucumbers, tomatoes and romas.

Divine Flavor LLC of Nogales, AZ described January as “rough,” but was still hopeful for good volume with conventional and organic mini peppers as well as bell peppers, grape tomatoes and roma tomatoes.

The company grows a lot of its vegetables in greenhouses or high-tech hothouses, most of it in the Culican, Sinaola area of West Mexico. The operation also has squash and mini peppers in Sonora and bell peppers and grape tomatoes in Jalisco.

However, Divine Flavor reports the cold weather in Sinaloa and Sonora has even adversely affected its greenhouse production.

Fresh Farms of Rio Rico reports the Sinaloa region received 10 to 12 inches of rain around Christmas, resulting in a “disaster” for crops.

Calavo Growers Inc. of Nogales noted even before the weather challenges, many growers planted fewer romas and round tomatoes because of uncertainty about the tomato suspension agreement last summer and not knowing if they would have to pay tariffs. This resulted in a lot of growers shifting to bell peppers and cucumbers.

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Eastern Shipping Points: A Look at Loadings

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It certainly isn’t that good, but here are your best bets for fresh produce loading opportunities in the Eastern Time Zone.


It is Florida hands down, but even here you are looking at multiple pickups and multiple drops in most cases.

Nearly 750 truckload equivalents of Florida tomatoes are being shipped weekly. This is mostly the mature greens, with much smaller volumes found with grape (cherry) and plum tomatoes.

Strawberries from the Plant City, FL area are averaging about 575 truckload equivalents a week. There are modest amounts of fresh grapefruit and oranges, with even smaller amounts of other citrus amounting to around 475 truckload equivalents weekly.

There also are lesser amounts of cabbage, sweet corn as well as a new crop of red potatoes just getting underway.

Florida produce shipments primarily from central and southern areas – grossing about $3200 to New York City.

Port of Philadelphia

Chilean fruit arrivals by boat at Philadelphia are averaging around 750 truckloads a week. This consists mostly of table grapes although there are some peaches, plums and nectarines.


Not much here except apples from the Grand Rapids area in the western part of the state, as well as some onions.

North Carolina

Sweet potatoes by shippers mostly in the Eastern part of the state are averaging over 200 truckloads a week.

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More Volume, Longer Season is Seen for California Avocado Shipments

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California avocado shipments should hit 369 million pounds, a 70 percent increase over last season.

Unlike a year ago when shipments were limited primarily to the Western states, much wider distribution is possible, according to the California Avocado Commission.

The forecast for the big increase in shipments is attributed increased rains resulting in improved health of the trees and a better fruit set.

California avocado shipments remain relatively light, but will be increasing through March, with peak volume continuing from April through the summer, with smaller supplies lasting into September.

Despite a much larger crop, California avocado shipments will be going mainly to markets in California and the Western states. California avocado volume pales in comparison to shipments from Mexico, which is the primary supplier to two thirds of the U.S.

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South Texas Leads Central U.S. Loading Opportunities

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We are trudging through February as it is still weeks away before signs of spring produce volume starts to increase. However, you might finding some loading opportunities in the middle of the country. These states are in the Central Time Zone, except for Colorado (MST).

South Texas/Mexico

By far the most volume in this third of the country is the Lower Rio Grande Valley of south Texas with crossings from Mexico. While there is some domestically grown product here such as grapefruit (about 60 truck loads a week) and oranges, there is little else except maybe some partial loads of cabbage in the Winter Garden District.

Otherwise, your best bet is with the distribution houses near the Texas/Mexico border.

Mexican tomatoes, easily led by vine ripes, are averaging nearly 1,100 truckload equivalents a week. Avocados are amounting to about 1,125 loads each week.

After this, volume is much lower with other commodities by comparison. There are about 650 truck loads of Mexican limes crossing the border each week. Other leading vegetables are bell peppers, strawberries, watermelons, cucumbers and broccoli, plus countless other products in much smaller volume.

South Texas produce -grossing about $3400 to Atlanta; $5700 to New York City.


Colorado ranks second to Idaho in potato shipments with most volume coming out of the San Luis Valley, currently averaging over 700 truckloads per week.

San Luis Valley potatoes – grossing about $4300 to New York City.


Central Wisconsin in the Stevens Point area ranks third in potato loadings and is now averaging close to 300 truck loads a week.

Wisconsin potatoes – grossing about $3400 to Houston.

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A Round up of Better Loading Opportunities in Western States

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January and February are two of the slowest months for fresh produce shipments, and while March begins to give hope of things to come it often is not much better.

Still, here is a round up of some of the best loading opportunities from the western states.


West Mexico vegetable shipments through Nogales, AZ are typically one of the best locations for produce loads in the winter, but this year it’s not quite up to speed, thanks to weather factors in growing areas south of the border. Produce trucking rates are down 8 to 10 percent to most destinations, at least in part to the lower volume.

Multiple rains in November followed by another round about New Year’s hit vegetables such as cucumbers, squash, tomatoes and green bell peppers pretty hard. These weather events are reported to be more serious than damaging freezes in 2011-12-13. Currently around 850 truckload equivalents of cukes are being shipped weekly and nearly 600 truckload equivalents of bell peppers.

In the Yuma area of western Arizona, most of the nation’s lettuce is coming from here now. There are about 375 truckload equivalents of head lettuce and romaine a week being shipped from Yuma.

Mexican vegetables crossing through Nogales – grossing about $3600 to Chicago.

Lettuce and other veggies from Yuma as well as the nearby Imperial Valley and Coachella Valley (the later two in the California desert) – grossing about $6200 to New York City.


California certainly is less than exciting from a produce hauling stand point right now. There is the previously mentioned desert areas, plus Oxnard is shipping some veggies, most notably celery, averaging about 400 truckload equivalents per week. The Bakersfield area is led by carrots with around 450 truckload equivalents a week.

Perhaps the most promising loads in the weeks ahead are with strawberries. South California volume now is very light, but there is the potential for record setting shipments from Easter (April 12) through the Fourth of July. Right now the primary strawberry loads are from Mexico through South Texas which are double the volume of California .

Carrots from the Bakersfield area – grossing about $3700 to Dallas.


Heaviest volume from the Pacific Time Zone is easily with apples, averaging about 2,750 truckloads each week. Storage sheds are mostly in the Yakima and Wenatchee valleys. Otherwise, there are onions and potatoes from Washington’s Columbia Basin and the adjacent Umatilla Basin in Oregon. There are over 800 truckloads of onions and about 360 truckloads of potatoes moving weekly from this area.

Yakima Valley apples – grossing about $6600 to New York City. 


The state’s upper valley and Twin Falls areas are shipping about 1,750 truckloads of potatoes a week.

Idaho potatoes grossing – about $4500 to Atlanta.

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North Dakota’s Potato Shipments Reduced; Minnesota Unchanged, Says USDA

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Summary by North American Potato Market News

Expect fewer potato shipments from the Red River Valley of North Dakota and Minnesota this season.

North Dakota- Growers abandoned 15,000 acres of North Dakota’s 2019 potato crop. That is 1,000 acres more than the November estimate. In addition, USDA reduced its estimate of the state’s average yield to 350 cwt per acre from 355 cwt. That reduced the 2019 crop estimate to 20.30 million cwt, a 645,000 cwt decline. The 2019 crop is down 3.43 million cwt, or 14.4 percent, from the 2018 crop (largest percentage drop in the country). Some of the crop was compromised during harvest, which will result in additional storage losses.

Minnesota – Production is estimated at 18.04 million cwt. That is 665,000 cwt, or 3.6 percent less than Minnesota’s 2018 crop. Minnesota is the only state whose 2019 crop estimate was not adjusted in January. That is a major shift from recent years when USDA has made massive adjustments to the state’s crop estimate.

U.S. Fall Crop – The total U.S. fall crop was adjusted upwards by 439,000 cwt. which is just a 0.1 percent increase. Even with that, the total U.S. fall crop is down nearly 9 million cwt. compared to 2018, or 2.1 percent.

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California, Florida, Texas Citrus Shipments are Showing an Increase

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With the absence of major hurricanes, storms, heatwaves or freezes in California, Florida or Texas citrus shipping areas, growers are reporting good quality.

The January 10 citrus crop estimate from the USDA forecasts a harvest of 125.5 million boxes of oranges for the current season, up from 124 million last year.

The grapefruit forecast is 15.7 million boxes, up from 13.8 last season.

Lemon and tangerine production is down.

Growers are expected to ship 20.4 million boxes of lemons, compared to 24.1 million in 2018-19, and 23 million boxes of tangerines, down from about 27 million last year.

Booth Ranches LLC of Orange Cove, CA is in full swing harvesting, packing and shipping navel oranges, The company expects to wrap up navel shipments by late June and is reporting excellent quality and color.

Limoneira Co. of Santa Paula, CA is picking lemons in California’s San Joaquin Valley and in the coastal region. The operation reports good quality.

Florida Citrus Shipments

Florida Classic Gowers Inc. of Dundee, FL will transition from navels to valencias in mid-February and continue shipping those through May. Then the summer storage orange shipments will get underway, continuing through June.

Florida Citrus Mutual of Lakeland, FL reports a good citrus shipping season and expects it to continue through the second half of the season.

Texas Citrus Shipments

Texas Citrus Mutual of Mission, TX sees good quality with Lower Rio Grande citrus being shipped out of South Texas. Product is split with 70 percent of the citrus volume consisting of grapefruit and 30 percent oranges.. The company was completing their navels and early variety shipments in mid January, and was planning to start valencias in February,

Lone Star Citrus Growers, Mission, TX reports good quality grapefruit, although volume is down from last season, but with larger sized fruit.


Lower Rio Grande Valley citrus as well as Mexican produce crossings – grossing about $3200 to Chicago, about $5700 to New York City.

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Port Manatee Gets Extended Agreement from World Direct Shipping

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World Direct Shipping of Palmetto, FL., has extended an agreement with Port Manatee, and added a third vessel to its service.

The company offers three-day transits between Mexico and the Southeast, Midwest and Northeast U.S. for refrigerated fresh produce and other cargo, according to a news release.

The agreement is good through 2026. World Direct Shipping began service at Port Manatee in 2014 with a single vessel from Veracruz, Mexico. Service now includes Tuxpan and Tampico, Mexico.

A new vessel arrived first arrived at Port Manatee January 10th, carrying 231 high-cube, 40-foot refrigerated containers from China to be added to the World Direct Shipping service. The move enhances the company’s equipment fleet in trade across the Gulf of Mexico.

The company’s cargo volume rose 90 percent in 2019 from the previous year totaling nearly 50,000 20-foot-equivalent container units.

“World Direct Shipping has enjoyed a solid, trusted partnership with Port Manatee from the beginning,” Carlos Diaz, World Direct Shipping director, said in the release. “As our operations have expanded, the port has worked diligently to keep pace with our needs.”

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Fungus to Reduce Florida Strawberry Shipments

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A fungus known as pestalotiopsis, causes berries, leaves and roots to rot and turn brown and is bound to reduce total Florida strawberry shipments this season. By how much is not yet known.

A warm, wet winter allowed the fungus to take hold in December. It is spread by water and Florida had a lot of rain December. Warm weather also helps the fungus spread.

Florida ranks second to California in domestic strawberry shipments and plays an important role in strawberry volume during the winter months. Most of Florida’s 10,000 acres of strawberry farms are in Hillsborough County to the east of Tampa and Manatee County to the south.

Hillsborough County’s Plant City is the center of the industry. The town’s annual strawberry festival held in late February drew more than 550,000 people last year.

The current outbreak of the fungus affected about 25 percent of the state’s strawberry fields and about half of the strawberries are grown organically,

One of the growers affected was Wish Farms of Plant City, FL who reported a loss of about 80 acres of organic strawberries. While it was described as a setback the company emphasized it was not a knockout punch and conditions were improving.

Florida strawberries – grossing about $2000 to Chicago.

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Significant Rebound is Seen with California Navel Shipments

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California navel orange shipments may be down nearly 20 percent this season, although growers and shipper are not complaining considering the over production and poor markets of last season.

There was a huge navel orange crop with shipments hitting 80 million 40-pound cartons, and this doesn’t even count fruit that fell to the ground and product so small it didn’t make grade.

California Citrus Mutual of Exeter, CA is pleased the navel orange forecast for the 2019-20 season is down to 73 million cartons. As of mid January about 20 percent of California’s navels had been harvested, very similar to a year ago.

California grower-shippers are expecting ample supplies, large sizes and good-quality fruit.

Johnston Farms of Edison, CA believes there will be good supplies, better sizing and quality on navels over last year. The company has just wrapped up its satsuma mandarin season and is transitioning to murcotts. Good quality is reported.

Shipper, packer Cecelia Packing Corp. of Orange, CA expects navel volume to slow down a little in late March or early April since there will not be a lot of late varieties this year.

SunWest Fruit Co. Inc. of Parlier, CA is experiencing increased volume with its cara cara navel oranges. The grower, shipper points out its increased volume with cara cara navels has not come at the expense of its navel orange loadings.

Southern California oranges – grossing about $6200 to New York City.

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