Archive For The “Trucking Reports” Category

Shipping Updates: CA Produce Loads on the Decline; FL, Mexico Tomato Shipments Struggle

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DSCN0449There’s probably no single California produce item having more truck loads per week than table grapes, although this should be changing soon as volume is headed towards a season ending slide.  Still, San Joaquin Valley shippers loaded about 975 truck loads last week.  The first Chilean grapes to arrive at Philadelphia by boat are expected the week of December 18th.

In the Southern San Joaquin Valley in the Bakersfield area, there is pretty steady movement of carrots averaging around 375 truck loads weekly.

As the seasonal shift of vegetable shipments is nearly completed from the Salinas Valley, light volume of items ranging from broccoli to cauliflower has started from Central and Western Arizona.  Heavier volume already is underway, particularly from the Yuma area with lettuce.  The combination of head lettuce, as well as romaine and leaf lettuce totaled nearly 2500 truck loads last week and volume is still increasing.

Low Tomato Shipments

Thanks to Hurricane Irma last September, Florida tomato shipments this season are down 54 percent compared to the same time a year ago.  Florida, as of December 9th has shipped 3.44 million cartons, down 54 percent from 7.4 million cartons in 2106.   For example, Florida tomato shipments the week of December. 3-9 totaled 500,000 cartons, down over 65 percent compared with 1.492 million cartons the same week last year.

The USDA reports total supply of domestic and imported tomatoes the week of Dec. 3-9 was 1.9 million cartons, down 25 percent from 2.56 million cartons the same week a year ago.

Tomato prices at shipping point had hit $35 in mid-December resulting in high prices at retail stores and resulting in fewer sales as consumers balked at the high prices.  The f.o.b. (shipping point) price for central and south Florida tomatoes on Dec. 12 was $37.95 per carton for some mature green tomatoes, four times higher than the $8.95 per carton the same time a year ago.

Cold weather in central and eastern parts of the country limited some Mexican tomato shipments coming through south Texas in early December.  For imports coming in through Nogales, tomato shipments from Sinaloa, Mexico should experience significant volume increases in January.

Florida may not have normal tomato shipments until mid-January.

 

 

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Apple Shipments Strong, Plus Mexican Avocados and Vietnam Mango Imports

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DSCN0188A look at the three leading apple shipping states; Mexican avocado imports; and the approval of imported mangoes from Vietnam.

U.S. Apple Shipments

Christmas apple shipments are always big in the U.S. and vast amount of loading are coming out of Washington’s Yakima and Wenachee Valleys.  Washington state is shipping around 3500 truck load equivalents of apples a week!  A distant second is the state of New York, which is moving about 250 trucks weekly, led by the Hudson Valley, although there are  probably a half dozen production areas spread across the state.  In Michigan, mostly from the western part of the state centered around Grand Rapids, about 225 truck loads of fruit is being shipped each week.

Washington apples – grossing about $8000 to New York City.

Mexican Avocados

Hass avocado volume from Mexico is forecast at 1.8 million to 1.9 million metric tons, up from 1.7 million metric tons in 2016-17.  Nearly 80 percent of all Mexican avocadoes are exported to the U.S., though shipments to Canada, Japan and European countries have risen in recent years.

Mexican exports of avocados should hit nearly 1 million metric tons (95 million 23-pound cartons) in 2017-18, up 15 percent from 873,963 metric tons (83.5 million cartons) in 2016-17.  Mexican avocado plantings increased 7.3 percent in 2016-17 to 544,457 acres, and another increase is predicted for 2017-18.

The Mexican state of Michoacan is the world leader in avocado production and accounts for 80 percent of all the country’s avocado production.

Mexican produce crossing the South Texas border – grossing about $4700 to New York City.

Vietnam Mango Imports

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is amending its regulations to allow the importation of fresh mango fruit from Vietnam into the continental United States.  After analyzing the potential plant pest risks, APHIS scientists determined that mangos from Vietnam can be safely imported.

The final rule was published in the Federal Register on November 29th, and will become effective 30 days after publication, or on December 29th.

 

 

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Shipping Updates: Florida Tomatoes are Rebounding; Rates Up for Western U.S. Potatoes

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DSCN0190Florida tomato volume is rebounding as the recovery from Hurricane Irma continues.  Meanwhile, double digit freights on potatoes from some states in the Western U.S. are occurring.

Florida tomato shipments remain much lighter than normal thanks to Hurricane Irma last fall, that is fixing to change.  Volume is gradually coming back as the replantings mature, but it will be around Christmas or perhaps early January before volumes return to normal.  Irma dumped a ton of water of some fields, so use caution loading.  There’s a chance of bacterial and general quality problems with some product, until a little later in the season.

North American Potato Shipping Update

North American fall potato shipments in the most recent USDA update is pegged 505 million cwt. (per hundredweight), down 1 percent from last year.  Canadian growers harvested 106 million cwt., up slightly from 2016, and U.S. growers are expected to produce 399 million cwt., down 2 percent from 2016.  U.S. growers planted 906,500 acres, down from 923,800 in 2016, and harvested 900,600 acres, off from 909,600 in 2016.

Canadian growers planted 345,800 acres and harvested 342,200, both amounts similar to the previous crop.  The USDA reported yields per acre at 443 cwt. for growers in the U.S. and at 309 cwt. for growers in Canada.

Potato shipments for Christmas are getting underway and truck rates from both Idaho and Colorado have increased 10 to 20 percent to many markets.  Wisconsin, which has the lowest volume of the three states, is not experiencing volatility in rates.  Idaho is shipping moving nearly 1700 truckload equivalents of spuds a week, although a significant amount of this is going by rail.  Colorado is shipping around 750 truckloads per week, while Wisconsin is loading about 400 truckloads.  The Columbia Basin and Umatilla Basin on the Washington/Oregon border has similar volume  (about 350 loads) to Colorado  and rates have generally went up 10 to 15 percent recently.

Twin Falls area Idaho potatoes – grossing about $6300 to New York City.

San Luis Valley Colorado potatoes – grossing about $2000 to Dallas.

Stevens Point, Wisconsin area potatoes – grossing about  $3300 to Atlanta.

Washington’s Columbian Basin potatoes – grossing bout $5100 to Chicago.

 

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Branch is Excited Heading into Another Successful Leafy Vegetable Season

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BranchBy Branch

South Bay, FL  —  Branch: A Family of Farms, the country’s largest distributor of sweet corn, is thankful that their crops were not impacted by Hurricane Irma and they are excited about the many new varieties that they will be offering as they enter into another leaf season.

Branch Farms grows and ships a full assortment of leafy vegetables including; escarole, endive, Chinese cabbage, green and red leaf lettuce, kale, butter, Bibb, Boston, romaine lettuce, cilantro and also Italian and plain parsley.

This winter’s forecast is predicted to be much cooler, which are ideal growing conditions for leafy greens in Florida. They are forecasting a strong season due to overall crop outlook as well as the improvements in varietal development and increased interest in local programs.

“We are extremely grateful to have escaped major damage unlike others who were impacted by the hurricane,” says Brett Bergmann, president of Branch.  “As we look ahead to our leafy vegetable season, we expect to see increased demand due to excitement around our regional offerings, as well as advantages for our customers in freshness and overall delivered cost.”

Branch continues to invest in trialing new varieties to find better offerings each season, and will have multiple new varieties rolling out for the 2017 and 2018 season. The primary goal of the research and development of these varieties is to continue to improve upon the eating experience for the consumer, as well as improve upon how varieties perform in the Southern climates. They are especially excited about a new Endive variety that is in production this season. When trialed, they discovered this variety has shown better tolerance to heat and humid growing conditions, allowing their farmers to grow and pack a more superior product.  Branch is also experimenting with a new pack on Cilantro, Curly and Plain Parsley. They plan to trial this in 2-3 markets this season and anticipate a wider expansion in the 2018 – 2019 season.

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About Branch

Since 1957, our founding principles still drive us at Branch: integrity, quality, service – a commitment to our industry and the sustainability of our environment. As a family owned and operated business, we are a premier grower, packer, shipper of sweet corn in the United States also offering our customers green beans, leafy greens, radishes and celery.

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Mexican Vegetable Shipments Crossing at Nogales Get an Early Start

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DSCN0442An early start for West Mexican vegetables crossing the border at Nogales, AZ is a result of warm weather and good growing conditions.  It is resulting in earlier-than-normal good supplies of winter produce items.

Good volume has started this week with vegetables ranging from green bell peppers to squash.  Mexico’s biggest volume produce item, tomatoes, should start crossing the border at Nogales no later than the third week of December.

Of particular interest to many produce haulers should be the fact that there may be more loadings of Mexican vegetables at Nogales destined for the East Coast this season since weather factors in the East have delayed plantings.

Loading delays in Nogales has been an issue for years, but observers say the situation is improving at the Nogales-Mariposa Port of Entry, although more customs agents are still needed.  A load of produce crossing the Mexican border into Arizona used to take six to eight hours, but this has reportedly been cut to two hours or less.

Here are examples of what some shippers of Mexican produce are doing.

Calavo Growers Inc. has shade house-grown tomatoes through mid-May and the Santa Paula, CA based company expects to increase its volume by 10 to 15 percent this season from Mexico.

Del Campo Supreme Inc. in Nogales, Ariz., will start shipping a full line of tomatoes, ranging from vine-ripes, beefsteak, tomatoes-on-the-vine and grape tomatoes, starting in mid-December.  The tomatoes are grown in both shade house and green house facilities.

During the 2016-17 season, Mexican growers exported approximately 1.2 billion pounds of round, roma, cherry and grape tomatoes to the U.S.

Some of the shippers for Mexican vegetables through Nogales are:

Big Chuy Distributing Co. Inc, Nogales, plus Ciruli Bros. LLC, Grower Alliance LLC, IPR Fresh,  and Thomas Produce Sales Inc.  all located in Rio Rico, AZ.

Here are some of the Mexican vegetables and when they will be shipped.

** Eggplant, and squash started in early November

**Beans will be in peak volume all of December

** Roma and beefsteak tomatoes start in mid December

** Hothouse-grown red, yellow and orange bell peppers and shade house-grown green bells are being shipped September through May

**Green bell peppers are shipped from mid November though April

Mexican veggies crossing at Nogales – grossing about $3600 to Chicago; $6500 to New York City.

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California Strawberry Shipments this Year Have Set a New Record

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DSCN0189California strawberry shipments in 2017 have already exceeded its 2016 record setter with a full month to go in the year.

By the middle of November California growers had packed 197.3 million crates statewide, exceeding the 196.8 million crates produced during all 12 months of 2016.

What is ironic about the shipping season is California experienced one of its rainiest winters on record in 2016-17, plus the heavy strawberry production area of the Salinas Valley, among others, had an exceptionally hot summer.

However, the rains helped to rinse away some of the salts that had built up in the top layer of soil during the drought.

Higher yields from newer strawberry varieties also contributed to the record crop.  Growers planned to plant 36,141 acres of strawberries in 2017, off from 40,816 acres four years earlier.

California strawberry shipments take place the year around and basically follow the sun.  During the peak shipping season, all of the state’s major growing regions  — Oxnard, Orange County, Santa Maria and Watsonville are loading berries.  Peak shipments are  typically in the spring and early summer, but it came later this year due to spring rains.

Strawberry shipments in the early part of 2017 were adversely affected by big storms.  The result was amazing with seasonal rainfall totals in many coastal areas being around 150 percent of normal. Luckily, growers for the most part avoided major damage from the storms.

A recent consumer survey revealed strawberries as America’s favorite fresh fruit.   32 percent of respondents identified strawberries as their favorite fruit, in the survey that did not provide a list of fruits from which to choose.  Bananas (9 percent) placed second, while watermelons (8 percent) were the third favorite fruit in the U.S.

California is the leading strawberry shipping region in the world.  The state also provides nearly 80 percent of the strawberries grown, packed, shipped and consumed in the U.S.

While California strawberries are currently coming mostly out of Santa Maria and Oxnard, this is a light volume time of the year.  Mexican strawberry shipments are currently light as well, but is increasing in volume with the new shipping season.

Santa Maria strawberries and vegetables – grossing about $8000 to New York City.

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FL Fresh Citrus Shipments to Increase with Less Product for Processors

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DSCN0084Florida fresh citrus shipments should increase this season, despite the state’s expected 27 percent plummet in volume from a year ago, according to a USDA estimate in November. This would cut the crop to 50 million boxes.

The primary culprit is Hurricane Irma that hit Florida September 10th.

Florida grapefruit shipments are forecast to be 4.65 million boxes, down 40 percent from last year.  The November forecast in down from the last one issued in October, but many in the Florida citrus industry believe actual harvest numbers will be even lower.

For long haul truckers of refrigerated products, this may not be all bad news.  For example, DLF International Inc. of Vero Beach, FL expects to ship more fruit to the fresh market this season. The company’s October fresh volume doubled over the same period a year ago.  At the same time it will be sending less product to processors.

Florida Classic Growers of Dundee, FL is the marketing arm of the Dundee Citrus Growers Association.   It actually has more citrus than a year ago.  The company has been shipping sunburst tangerines, which should continue into December.   The firm’s grapefruit loadings got underway in early November and should continue into January.  Florida navels and hamlin oranges began in early November, and may last through December. The valencia harvest for the cooperative should start in January and continue into June.

Seald Sweet LLC of Vero Beach is starting valencia shipments earlier than normal to help make up for early and mid-season varieties that had a shorter than usual season.  Seald Sweet, which lost at least 30 percent of its oranges to the hurricane expects to ship a higher percentage of its citrus to the fresh market.

At IMG Citrus Inc. of Vero Beach, 35 percent of its fruit was lost to the storm.  IMG had planned a volume increase prior to the hurricane because of maturing groves and the acquisition of additional acreage.  Following Irma, IMG, sees its shipments declining 10 to 15 percent from a year ago.  The company expects light volumes until the end of the year, but good volume coming with the New Year.

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South Texas Vegetable, Citrus Shippers are Expecting Good Volume for Holidays

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DSCN0451Good supplies of fresh vegetables and citrus is being predicted by observers from the Lower Rio Grande Valley of South Texas as they gear up for the holiday season.

Among the dozens of different vegetables are kale, cilantro and cabbage as well as mustard, collard and turnip greens.  As far as citrus is concerned, grapefruit shipments got underway in early November, and several varieties of oranges should be ready by early December.

Vegetable shipper Frontera Produce Ltd., of Edinburg, Texas, began loading cabbage, its biggest vegetable item of the winter, last week.  The company started its jalapeno pepper shipments in late October and the product should be available through mid-December, depending upon the weather.

Frontera volume should increase slightly on jalapenos, with shipments on other commodities remaining similar to a year ago.  The firm began cilantro shipments the first week of November and will continue until mid-April.

Crescent Fruit & Vegetable LLC is a sister company of Frontera, which will load about the same volume of onions and watermelons as last year.

Another South Texas shipper, Grow Farms Texas LLC, located in Donna, will ship green, red and napa cabbage this winter, along with squash, eggplant, cucumbers and jalapenos and Anaheim chili peppers.  Grow Farms will be loading green bell peppers until the first frost.

Rio Fresh Inc., of San Juan, Texas, was shipping about 20 wet vegetables by late October and early November that included herbs, parsley and beets.  In early December the company should be shipping specialty vegetables such as bok choy, napa cabbage, leeks and spinach.

Citrus Shipments

Lower Rio Grande Valley citrus acreage for the 2017-18 shipping season should be similar to a year ago when it totaled 27,000 acres, with about 70 percent of this acreage being rio red grapefruit.

Grapefruit acreage in South Texas is expected to increase by 4,000 acres within 12 to 18 months.

South Texas and imported Mexican produce – grossing about $3100 to Chicago.

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Imports: Peruvian Grapes to Bounce Back; Drop in South African Fruit Imports is Seen

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GrapesSAPeruvian table grapes at the start season earlier this year was delayed due the effects of El Nino, but a comeback is seen…..From South Africa, fruit imports are expected to be less.

While Peruvian grape exports declined about 10 percent due to the weather, the country is expected to rebound.  Table grapes are Peru’s number one agricultural export, and it is estimated the country’s 2017-18 production to be 638,000 metric tons, compared to 605,000 metric tons the past season. Exports are forecast at 380,000 metric tons, a jump from the 300,000 metric tons in 2016-17 season.

Rising demand, better yielding varieties and more acreage are the primary reason for increasing volume.

The U.S. is the largest import market for Peruvian grapes, followed by the Netherlands and China.

 South African Imports

Drought and low water levels in reservoirs in the Western Cape region of South Africa are expected to cut exports for the 2017-18 season.

The Western Cape region accounts for the biggest volume of deciduous fruits in South Africa, though the Northern Cape, Eastern Cape, and Limpopo provinces have gained in importance in the last two decades.

Grape Shipments

South African table grape exports for the 2017-18 season will drop 15 percent to 258,000 metric tons, due to a decrease in area harvested and small fruit size in the Western Cape growing areas.  However, normal production and growing conditions are expected in the Orange River growing regions.

South African grapes typically are shipped from October to May, with the first grapes coming from the Northern Cape Region and the season ending with the Hex River Valley.  The U.S. and Canadian markets have increased imports of South African grapes the past few years, but still accounted for only 3 percent of total exports last season. The European Union takes about 75 percent of South Africa’s fresh grape exports.

Apples and pears

2017-18 apple exports from South Africa are forecast to decline 5 percent to 500,000 metric tons due to reduced harvest area, smaller fruit size and limited irrigation water.  Africa takes about 40 percent of South Africa’s apple exports, followed by the European Union with 30 percent and Asia with 19 percent.  Only light volumes are shipped to the U.S.

Meanwhile, South Africa pear exports in 2017-18 are projected at 250,000 metric tons, down 3 percent from the previous year. About half of South Africa’s pear exports are shipped to Europe, with typically about 1,000 metric tons or less destined to the U.S. market.

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U.S. Pumpkin Shipments are Strong this Fall: Honeybear Pazazz Apple Shipping Period to Double

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DSCN0085Pumpkin shipments in the U.S. should equal or exceed the volume of a year ago, thanks to a bountiful harvest, favorable growing conditions in the six states that account for 50 percent of the pumpkins in the nation….Also, Honeybear Pazazz apple shipments will increase substantially this season.

Last year 1.6 billion pounds of pumpkins were shipped.  Some observers believe this year’s U.S. pumpkin totals by the end of the season could be one of the best on record.

Decorative pumpkins such as jack-o-lanterns or pumpkin pie filling and yogurt remain popular.  However, it is the new and different uses of pumpkins such as liquid coffee, cereal and dog food where demand is really soar.

Libby’s supplies nearly 80 percent of U.S canned pumpkins.  Libby’s is a unit of Nestle SA, which is also the parent company of Nestle Purina Petcare, the world’s No. 2 pet food manufacturer.  Pets apparently love pumpkins, plus there is antioxidant-like benefits and dietary fiber content. Purina uses real pumpkins to accent its cat and dog food recipes year round.

Dog food sales with pumpkin flavors soared to $41.9 million for the 52-week period ending July 29, compared with $925,288 during a similar period in 2013.

The liquor market for pumpkins, including pumpkin-flavored craft beers, has declined in recent years with ever changing millennials switching to other flavors.

Pazazz Apples

 The Pazazz premium apple variety, now in its fourth year of commercial introduction by Honeybear Brands, ships early November to many markets and will be available at retail until early April while supplies last.

With its largest volume ever, Pazazz should be available for five to six months this year instead of the usual three.

Pazazz will also be available in 50-75 percent more retail markets than previous years as the crop reaches full maturity.

Retailers include Wegmans in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Maryland; Loblaws in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Ontario and Quebec; Publix in all stores and all markets; all Hy-Vee in Iowa as well as Kansas City and Minnesota; Meijer in Illinois Michigan and Ohio; Kroger in Kentucky, Central Indiana, Michigan, Eastern Illinois and Texas; Ralphs in California; QFC in Oregon and Washington; and United Supermarkets in Texas and New Mexico. Additional markets and stores may be added in the coming weeks and months.

Honeybear, based in Brewster, WA,  is a leading grower and developer of premium apple varieties. The company started as Wescott Agri Products, a family run apple orchard in the early 1970s. From that early start several generations ago, Honeybear still employs the same hands-on, personal attention to apple varieties produced through the Honeybear Apple Varietal Development Program. Honeybear is the leading grower of Honeycrisp in the Northwest and offers complete domestic and global apply supply integration from varietal development to growing, packing, shipping and retailer support.

 

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