Posts Tagged “Keeping It Fresh”

California’s Post-Flood Recovery and Refrigerated Truck Projections

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By Isabella Silva, ALC Marketing Coordinator

Recent storms in California have significantly impacted agricultural operations. However, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is ready with technical and financial assistance to aid farmers and livestock producers in recovering from these adverse weather events. California’s agricultural sector has demonstrated remarkable resilience, supported by infrastructure enhancements, crop diversification, government assistance programs, and ongoing research and innovation efforts. It’s fascinating to note that California was in a severe drought just three years ago, highlighting the striking contrast in weather patterns. Nevertheless, both extremes resulted in similar agricultural shifts, noting the industry’s adaptability. This article explores the sector’s recovery from floods and projects California’s demand for refrigerated trucks. 

According to the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, investments in infrastructure, such as levees and irrigation systems, have played a crucial role in mitigating flood damage and protecting agricultural lands. Farmers in California have implemented crop diversification strategies by planting flood-tolerant varieties to minimize losses. Partnering with Full Belly Farm in Yolo County, California, the USDA California Climate Hub conducted an extensive case study emphasizing adaptation planning practices as opportunities to alleviate the impacts of extreme weather conditions. Their focus on building soil organic matter not only improves crop fertility, but also increases soil water retention and holding capacity. Ongoing research endeavors aim to develop flood-resistant crop varieties and innovative farming techniques, further enhancing the industry’s resilience against future flood events. As government-sponsored insurance and assistance programs offer crucial financial support to farmers, it’s important to see how this reflects the transportation industry. 

DAT reported citrus, almonds, avocado, and strawberry crops are expected to be impacted and have already contributed to 84% fewer truckloads of produce compared to this time last year. However, there’s still ample time for the 2024 produce season to regain its momentum, even with the national produce volumes down 17% from last year. With more resources, solutions, and research each year, California is continually improving its ability to address flooding challenges. This suggests a potential increase in the demand for refrigerated trucks in California’s agricultural supply chain, a positive sign for the industry’s recovery.


Isabella Silva graduated from St. Edward’s University in 2022 with a BA in Communication, complemented by minors in Psychology and Health Communication. In July of the same year, she began her career at the Allen Lund Company in the Marketing department. Isabella is set to start her MS in Public Relations Innovation, Strategy, and Management at the University of Southern California in May.

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Adaptability is the Key to Success

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By Fernando Dominguez ALC San Francisco

The Transportation industry is more than just getting products from point A to point B. There are myriad factors to consider, from the product itself and the agricultural regulations it abides by to the equipment utilized and the laws that govern it. Most importantly, but arguably the most overlooked factor in this industry, are the laws, rules, and regulations that create the foundation under which many products are cultivated. Being part of a national transportation brokerage and working in the San Francisco office, whose main niche is in produce, we are consistently watchful for changes in regulations and shifts in the market. They have the potential to affect both the customers we conduct business with and the carrier companies that relentlessly move product from coast to coast. I am part of a team that must shift and pivot in an industry full of change, but with change comes bountiful opportunities.

There have been numerous occasions where changes in agriculture and consumer spending have led customers and carriers to adjust their daily procedures to keep up with demand. Most recently, the USDA Announced Temporary Suspension of the Continuance Referendum Requirement for California Raisins. This has the potential to change how much grapes are moved throughout the country. Subsequently, other produce products grown in California will be impacted, as this action amends a marketing order affecting growers and handlers of grapes (of whom presently, there are approximately 18 handlers of raisins subject to regulation under the Order and approximately 2,000 raisin producers in the regulated area). Keeping track of regulatory changes is extremely important because they enable multiple entities to regulate the cultivation and distribution processes. Additionally, it’s crucial to understand the financial effects of these changes. Any time there is a change of this magnitude in the transportation industry, it has the potential to change customer buying projections, bids on specific lanes, and carrier shifts in certain geographical regions. It even changes the compliance that drivers must adhere to when loading at specific shippers. 

I take pride in contributing to an industry that ensures Americans have access to high-quality goods and efficient resource distribution. Our direct involvement in this dynamic system allows us to continuously sharpen our skills and thrive amidst challenges. These challenges foster team cohesion and offer unparalleled opportunities for career growth. The next time I go to the grocery store and see a display of grapes or raisins, I will know that many people and businesses made a tremendous effort to cultivate, supply, and distribute them even through changing regulations. At ALC, we’re committed to upholding our core values of integrity, dependability, service, honesty, and family while meeting the evolving needs of our industry.


Fernando Dominguez graduated from California State University Chico in 2020. He served as an embarkation logistics specialist in the United States Marine Corps Reserve as a sergeant, while beginning his career at the Allen Lund Company as a transportation broker in training. He was promoted to transportation broker after eight months and subsequently to carrier manager after a year and a half at the ALC San Francisco office.

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International Logistics in the Red Sea

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By Scott Fontes ALC Orlando

International logistics plays a crucial role in facilitating global trade and commerce by connecting businesses across continents. The Red Sea, a key maritime route, is currently experiencing significant disruptions that have led to impacts on international logistics. The ongoing geopolitical tensions in the region, coupled with environmental challenges, are reshaping the landscape of maritime transportation. Shipping times and costs have increased, adding significant delays and costs. Oil and gas prices have jumped following news of attacks, and shipping insurance premiums have nearly doubled for some carriers. Even if attacks stopped today, the effects will take a significant time to resolve.

The Red Sea has become a focal point for tensions and conflicts, influencing the safety and efficiency of shipping lanes. By January 2024, only 200,000 standard containers were passing through the waterway per day, compared with around 450,000 in December 2022. Strategic chokepoints, such as the Bab-el-Mandeb and the Suez Canal, are vital passages for vessels navigating between the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean. Political instability in the surrounding areas can lead to heightened security concerns, affecting the smooth flow of goods. According to the AP, “The governments of Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, and South Korea joined the U.S. and U.K. in issuing a statement saying that while the aim is to de-escalate tensions and restore stability in the Red Sea, the allies won’t hesitate to defend lives and protect commerce in the critical waterway.” Instead of sailing through the Red Sea, ships traveling between Asia and Europe are now being re-routed around Africa and the Cape of Good Hope. Stakeholders in international logistics are closely monitoring these developments to assess potential disruptions to supply chains.

Furthermore, environmental factors like extreme temperatures, strong currents, occasional coral reefs, and weather events pose challenges to maritime operations in the Red Sea. Rising sea levels and changing weather patterns can impact navigation, port infrastructure, and overall logistics efficiency. Companies engaged in international trade must adapt to these environmental shifts, incorporating resilience measures into their logistical strategies.

As the Red Sea continues to play a pivotal role in global trade routes, a comprehensive understanding of both geopolitical and environmental dynamics is essential for the sustainable functioning of international logistics networks. By embracing innovation and responsible practices, we can ensure that the Red Sea remains a vital and sustainable lifeline for international trade in the years to come.


Scott Fontes began working for the Allen Lund Company in 2023 as an international logistics specialist in the Orlando office. Scott joined the company with years of experience in transportation, most recently as a logistics manager for an OTR transportation company.

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California’s Carbon Cutting Course

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By Charlie Fabricant, ALC Corporate

With the growth in awareness around climate change, the supply chain industry is taking significant strides to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while maintaining the crucial service of keeping our economy flowing. Many companies across all sectors, driven by altruism or differentiation, are incorporating ESG-focused improvements. In 2021, 73% of S&P 500 companies tied their executives’ compensation to ESG metrics. Governments are investigating additional ways to push organizations to decarbonize. One avenue that many regulators are exploring is requiring companies to publicly share their annual carbon emission data. Both California and the EU have already passed emission disclosure bills, and the SEC is expected to release U.S. wide regulations this Spring. With the transportation sector currently leading all business sectors in carbon emissions, ALC is developing low-carbon shipping programs to help our customers with their reduction and reporting goals. 

To provide a very brief explanation of GHG (greenhouse gas) accounting, there are three “scopes” of emissions. Scope 1 and 2 cover direct (owned assets) and indirect (purchased utilities) emissions, which are largely controllable by reporting companies. Scope 3 includes more complex calculations from production to disposal, including all emissions associated with a manufacturer’s or retailer’s supply chain, a significant aspect of which is transportation. For example, if you were a car manufacturer, your scope 3 would include the emissions associated with the first metal being mined through the post consumer disposal and everything in between (excluding emissions captured in scope 1 and 2). The SEC regulation was originally proposed in 2022, but has been pushed back multiple times due to the difficulties associated with reporting scope 3 emissions. Due to the truckload market’s fractured nature, many shippers work with multiple transportation partners, further increasing the difficulty of consolidating this data. 

So, now that I have made ESG seem scary, here’s the soothing part…In order to address environmental concerns, our company uses an EPA and CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project) based calculator which provides truckload emission data. In addition, we’re developing a ‘Green Carrier Base’, recruiting low-emission carriers for sustainable shipping needs who will have a reportable emission reduction when compared to traditional fleets. Investigations into alternative fuels, such as renewable diesel, compressed natural gas, and eventually electric charging, are also underway with the goal of setting up a fuel delivery program for interested carriers and shippers through our partner, one of the U.S.’s largest energy providers. We’re also partnering with a unique carbon offset company which prioritizes additionality and building local coalitions of small-businesses and community leaders to ensure long-term environmental and economic benefits. We all live together on the same planet, and reducing our carbon footprint should be important to us all. Reach out to me if you’d like to have a conversation.


Charlie Fabricant graduated from Vanderbilt University in 2021 with a double major in Economics and Human & Organizational Development with a minor in Environmental Sustainability. He joined the Nashville office as an undergraduate intern in 2021 and became a transportation broker along with the company’s Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) coordinator. In 2024, he was promoted to ESG programs manager.

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AI in Logistics: A Glimpse into the Future and the Role of Human Expertise

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By Jon Manning, ALC Cincinnati

Creighton Abrams once said, “When eating an elephant, take one bite at a time.” AI is that elephant in the logistics space that everyone seems to be talking about. Let’s not kid ourselves here, we humans love the opportunity to have something within our grasp, that ultimately will make our lives less laborious, and can provide boundless information whenever and wherever we need it. Within the past week, I would have loved to have had something tell me how to make a beef Wellington from scratch or provide me with college football picks. That time will come, I’m sure, but even before the time comes the conversation about policy and ethics of AI will certainly be debated in many forums.

Ultimately, the idea is that AI can and will eventually surpass a team of people in breadth and scope of work, in mere seconds, it will become the new standard. I opened ChatGPT recently and typed in, “How will AI help supply chains?” The answer was shocking. In a matter of seconds, it gave me a plethora of ways that AI could be beneficial, such as demand forecasting, inventory management, predictive maintenance, blockchain for transparency, and risk management. For those thought-provoking scholars, that means AI can carve vast efficiencies in any supply chain. In a recent article from Nasdaq, “AI is being used worldwide to improve production times and boost safety in manufacturing plants in what is referred to as the ‘Industry 4.0’ era.” Will the human element still be applicable? The short answer is yes. While AI is revolutionizing the supply chain by optimizing processes, predicting demand, and enhancing efficiency, it will never replace the invaluable human connection, compassion and sensible foresight that supports the industry.

So, where would I guess the logistics industry to be in 5 to 10 years from now? Perhaps we’ll see a litany of providers offering up to customers a comprehensive “AI” program to help manage their supply chain stem to stern, or, most likely, staying the course and navigating the nuances of logistics using the best and brightest talent in the industry, which is none other than human capital. This remains essential for fostering collaboration, resolving complex issues, and navigating the unpredictable challenges inherent in the dynamic world of supply chain management. AI may streamline operations, but the industry’s success will always count on the symbiotic relationship between technological innovation and the irreplaceable human element that is required to cultivate and grow businesses.


Jon Manning is the general manager of the ALC Cincinnati office. He started in the logistics industry working in transportation sales role in 2002. Manning graduated from Bowling Green State University with a B.A.C. degree in Communications.

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Mexico’s Agriculture in the Face of Climate Challenges

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By Isabella Silva, ALC Marcom

A harsh reality of climate and economic twists is unfolding in the heartland of Mexico, where a colorful abundance of strawberries and avocados usually flourish. The country is painted with the struggles of a severe drought, hurricane surprises, and a resilient agricultural community striving to adapt to the shifting circumstances. I had the opportunity to interview Mark Santos, Manager of Santos International and TransKool Solutions, to hear firsthand how the economic climate in Mexico is affecting the year-round supply of produce coming into the United States.

“Mexico as a whole has been struggling with severe drought. Water shortages affected many commodities greatly across the board. The state of Michoacán, where the majority of strawberries and avocados come from, has felt the brunt of this,” stated Santos. “Then comes the irony of Hurricane Otis that went from a Category 1 to a Category 4 hurricane in less than 48 hours.” While the Zamora area, a significant agricultural region, escaped direct impact, other vital areas suffered, leaving a trail of damaged crops and economic uncertainty. 

During these climatic challenges, Mexico faces an intriguing economic landscape. Despite the hardships, Santos shares that the peso stands strong against the dollar, maintaining a formidable exchange rate of 17-18 MXN, compared to previous fluctuations of 25 -27 MXN. “A stronger dollar encourages Mexican exports to the United States as Mexican growers strive to recover their investment in dollars. A weaker dollar has had growers questioning whether they should take on additional expenses such as freight and transmit times to get their product to the U.S.” With its predictable payment upon delivery terms, the Mexican market presents a tempting alternative. Adding to the complexities, Santos said, “Mexico is also struggling with labor shortages, forcing the industry to import labor from southern regions to fill the gaps.” 

The Pharr International Bridge, a port of entry for the U.S.-Mexico border, reported the lowest crossing number of agricultural loads in the last quarter in comparison to the same time frame in the past five years. Santos gives an example, “we have a customer that would traditionally move about 180 loads of berries in October, and this year moved 110 loads.” However, in the grand scheme of things, every climate has its season, and while challenges persist, there are brighter days ahead. “Mexico continues to see an increase in planted acreage, especially in high-end commodities such as berries and avocados. Geographically, it is still in the best position than any other country to export to the U.S.” 

Mark Santos has been a longtime friend with Allen Lund Company and the Lund family. Given the alignment in company culture and shared values with Santos International, the decision to collaborate six years ago was a natural progression. ALC takes pride in the partnership with the Santos family and draws upon their great insight, expertise, and local knowledge in McAllen, Texas, which is essential with Mexico being the United States largest trading partner.


Isabella Silva graduated from St. Edward’s University in 2022 with a BA in Communication and minors in Psychology and Health Communication. She started working at the Allen Lund Company in July 2022 in the Marketing department.

Interviewee: Mark Santos, TransKool Solutions

In 2017, Allen Lund Company and Santos International came together and announced a new company, TransKool Solutions. This joint venture delivers top-tier warehousing solutions, specializing in LTL and FTL services, load consolidations, and Customs brokerage.

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Navigating the Intersection of Transportation and Analytics

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By Michael Patrick, ALC Corp.

Transportation and analytics go together like peas and carrots. As technology continues on an upward trajectory with the implementation of artificial intelligence and machine learning, transportation companies will have to continue to adapt their environments to use this technology to their benefit. We currently use basic metrics to help our customers, managers, and brokers be as effective and efficient as possible. We combine our data with multiple data sources to get an overall market picture. 

As a third-party transportation company, we use business intelligence and analytics in a multitude of areas. Market trends are used to help us bid spot market freight and rate prediction engines to help forecast rates on customer bids. Executives and managers use data and analytics to conduct customer, carrier, and employee reviews on a quarterly basis.  

Customers and carriers benefit from Allen Lund Company conducting business reviews that show them not only trends in the overall marketplace, but also identify areas where they may reduce costs and thoroughly streamline their transportation. We use things like loads, customer spend, weight and pallet analysis, lane and cost analysis to create a great story for our customers and carriers.

One example comes to mind of ALC using data and analytics to help a customer reduce costs within their transportation department. We were asked to help this customer with a market analysis on their lane set. We ran the customers rates and market rates and showed them which areas to reach out to the incumbent carrier in order to adjust their rates to market levels. Some of these rates went up, and some went down. Overall, the customer felt like they not only got better rates, but also better service from their carrier. Win-win for everyone involved.

As technology continues to grow, we will have to stay ahead and evolve quickly in order to keep up with our customer and carrier demands. Allen Lund Company is committed to keeping up with the markets and to keep our customers, carriers, and employees up-to-date on all current market trends. The Business Intelligence team here at ALC will continue to push the envelope on what is possible with analytics.


Michael Patrick is the Director of Business Intelligence and has been with Allen Lund Company since January 2018. He graduated from Winthrop University with a BS in Marketing in 1998 and earned his MBA from The Citadel in 2002.

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Data Analytics Then, Now, and In the Future

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By Steve Hull, ALC Special Projects

I recently celebrated my 27th anniversary working at Allen Lund Company. So far, my career has included many different job titles and roles, from transportation broker to management positions and now to my current role as special projects business analyst. I’ve seen firsthand how the use of data in the supply chain has grown and evolved over that time span.  

When I started as a transportation broker working in the Los Angeles branch office in 1996, emails were rare, and the internet was still a ‘new thing’ we were all trying to figure out. Customers tendered loads to me via fax machine, and tracking and tracing a load amounted to a phone call every few days from the driver. If there were problems after hours, the drivers all had my home landline phone number to call! And we gave directions to drivers via atlases and the trusty Thomas Guide. The only real data we used was either counting up the piles of paperwork on your desk or tallying how many loads you helped a trucker haul in a month.

Things evolved when I was promoted to assistant manager in the Portland, OR, branch office in 1998. To help be more connected to data and information, I convinced the team we needed to upgrade to mobile phones and then Palm Pilots a few years later. That way, we could better monitor pickup and delivery ETAs and update our customers.

Then, as general manager of the Portland office in the early 2000s, data-driven principals really took off. Analytics around load volumes, pricing trends, and metric-driven scorecards started to be commonplace. We started using customers’ TMS modules, and ALC brought our solution to market in AlchemyTMS. Fax machines and print-outs went away, and e-faxes and digital PDFs became the norm. We also eschewed the room full of filing cabinets in favor of hard drives and servers. When the iPhone came out in 2007, I knew right away that the future had arrived! The ease at which you could pull up data to share with your customers was (and is) astonishing. 

I held that branch manager title for 20 years, and then it was time to hand off those responsibilities and put my experience to use in a new way. In early 2022, I took on the role of business analyst within ALC’s Special Projects team. I now work daily with our team of talented folks who help keep our broker’s eyes and ears aware of all the requirements of our customers and carriers. Dashboards, scorecards, maps, and spreadsheets are the tools of our trade. And we’re preparing for the future as well. APIs and AI programs will surely play a big role in what’s to come in the next decade.  

Data has proven to be the key to success for many parts of the supply chain in my past 27 years, and I’ve enjoyed my front-row seat to this proliferation of information. I can’t wait to see what comes next!


Steve Hull is a business analyst working for the Corporate office, and has been with the Allen Lund Company for 27 years. Hull is a graduate of the University of Southern California, completing a dual major in political science and U.S. history.

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The Journey of Nootropic Beverages

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By Iyer Amruthur, ALC San Antonio

One of the most refreshing things on a hot Texas (or hotter Arizona!) day is an ice-cold sarsaparilla soda, or at least I’ve been told. My generation grew up during one of the peak periods for soda, candy, snacks, and a cornucopia of “consumables” that tasted great, but usually ended up in more than a few dentist visits. It’s safe to say a lot of us are still on the “high-fructose”, “high carbonation” train; admittedly, I was the same way. I gave up soda in my youth because I always felt the sugar crash pretty rapidly, and eventually, many sugar-based products began to weigh down my digestion. Fast forward to the current date and I’ve almost entirely cut out refined sugars from my diet. So what’s been my go-to fix while being healthy, you ask? Well, maybe you’ve heard of nootropic beverages?

Instead of being taste-centric, these beverages are purchased for their perceived nutritional benefits. In the same way you might drink/consume pre-workout supplements, or take a shot of apple cider vinegar per a daily schedule, you would now pursue these commercially available products. Some of my favorite examples include companies like Soylent, Huel, and Ka’chava for their dedication to nutrition/complete meals as a drink. They provide consumers with a bag of powdered food that prioritizes all the vitamins, minerals, carbs, protein, and fats humans need to operate (just add water!). Another example is Kin Euphorics and several similar companies that have created “mocktails” that taste similar to a non-sweetened cocktail; the drinks are chock-full of roots, herbs, vitamins, and more, meant to enhance mood, cognition, and digestion.

The category that was so dominated by the sensation of taste has now become a laterally divided market between taste and utility. The latter has become popular with younger demographics and those concerned with improving their health or creating better consumption habits in general. While these drinks are often smaller in volume and higher in price, they have been flying off the shelves at most common stores (Walmart, Costco, Kroger, etc.). So, what’s popular, healthy, and tasty?

Enter Kombucha! Kombucha is what I call “the produce of beverages,” and for good reason. Kombucha takes black tea, sugar, water, and a culture of bacteria (think yeast for bread) called a S.C.O.B.Y. (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast). These mix together, and over time, they ferment into a delicious and bubbly beverage. Most commercial retailers pasteurize any alcohol retained during the process and ship it to major stores to be sold as a healthy, tasty, and unique alternative to sugary sodas. 

It’s safe to say this is going to be a growing market, and we may see “soda” spots be replaced with kombucha, meal-based-beverages, smoothies, pressed juices, and even some drinks that might twist your tongue from the flavor profile, but deliver a calm nights rest.


Iyer Amruthur is a national sales manager in the ALC San Antonio office
and has been with the company for three years. He attended The
University of Georgia where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in Marketing, with a minor in Communications.

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Mitigating the Psychological Hurdles for Long-Haul Carriers

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By Ken Cavallaro Jr., ALC Boston

Pixar Animation Studios brought mental health to the big screen with its award-winning Inside Out, a movie highlighting the conflicting emotions humans face during major life events. These warring emotions can be especially difficult for truck drivers. Tasked with driving an 80,000-pound vehicle loaded with potentially over $250,000 worth of product through endless stretches of road and frustrating traffic snares for twelve hours a day is further complicated by carriers missing quality time with family and friends, disrupted sleep patterns, and often a less than stellar diet.

A survey by the National Library of Medicine shows almost 28% of truckers surveyed reported suffering from loneliness on the road, while 27% reported depression, 21% reported chronic sleep disturbances, 14.5% reported anxiety, and 13% reported other emotional difficulties. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), “truckers experience higher rates of obesity, diabetes, anxiety, depression, cardiovascular disease, divorce, drug use, and suicide.” After celebrating Truck Driver Appreciation Week last month, it’s important that we continue recognizing and advocating for these essential workers who contribute to making our day-to-day lives possible.

Ronald Allen of Points West Express, a second-generation truck driver, has traversed the country for the past 49 years. According to Ronald, missing family events caused the greatest stress during his lengthy driving career. He also attributes difficulty finding time to sleep as contributing to his high-stress level.

“Following what my father did, this is all I knew, which was the best way to provide for my family, and what got me through the day was knowing they were financially ok,” said Ronald. 

At Allen Lund Company, we pride ourselves on providing exceptional service to shippers and growers nationwide. Supporting truck drivers that help us achieve this goal – hard-working people like Ronald – is a top priority at our company. As logistics specialists, it is important to remember the challenges drivers face and be sensitive to their struggles so we can help them feel like the respected and valuable members of the supply chain that they are. We might not be able to control their diet, exercise, or sleep habits, but we can listen attentively, share kind words, and practice patience. 

Everyone should take a few extra minutes to engage with drivers and ask about their day. In the long run, our extra effort to treat a driver as a person and not just a load number will also benefit our customers. A driver who feels respected will most likely be calmer, more attentive, and ultimately deliver a load with more care. We might not be trained psychologists specializing in mental health, but kindness and sensitivity can go a long way to easing the emotional burdens of our drivers. Knowing we value the person behind the wheel as more than just another load might just be what a driver needs to settle those shifting emotions and safely deliver on time.


Kenneth Cavallaro, Jr. is a carrier manager in the Boston office. He began his career at the Allen Lund Company in February of 2019. Kenneth has been in the transportation industry since May of 1999. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Salem State University.

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