Posts Tagged “New York City”
Once again tenants at the Hunts Point Wholesale Produce Terminal are talking with the New York City about construction of entirely new warehouses to accommodate the market’s growing space needs.
A previous $400 million plan has been eliminated that would have added capacity on the city-owned site — while keeping about 1 million square feet of existing warehouses. More recent negotiations with the NYC’s Economic Development Corp. focus on new buildings being constructed in stages. Each of members of the 38-member cooperative would have the old warehouses torn down.
Strict standards for water and soil testing are now in place from new FDA safety regulations. The regulations require labels identifying the originating farm on every food box.
The 113-acre market, which sits on a peninsula between the South Bronx and East rivers, is the world’s largest supplier of fresh fruits and vegetables. It serves the region’s wholesale and retail businesses, including supermarkets, produce stands and mom-and-pop stores.
The co-op merchants have long complained about the site’s shortcomings — cramped quarters and vehicle congestion. At one point Hunts Point wholesalers threatened to pull up stakes and move to New Jersey.
Food both arriving and departing the market is handled by air, rail and truck. T here are 13 miles of interior rail track along with 120,000 tractor-trailers and a million buyers with small vans and trucks all types vying for space.
Because there is not enough cold storage in the warehouses, hundreds of parked refrigerated trailers operate on the market’s fenced-in site. These trailers run primarily on diesel fuel contributing to pollution.
Another problem is Hunts Point lacks the electrical capacity to support the infrastructure.
The city is reported to be working with the market to fund $10.5 million worth of capital improvement projects over a seven-year period, including lighting and electrical upgrades.
Additionally, $8.5 million in city capital has been committed for rail upgrades. The city also will be working with the market on the long-term redevelopment plan.
Even so, a new facility will almost certainly cost more to develop than the plan fleshed out just a few years ago, when the co-op owners balked at sharing half the cost.
Hunts Point is in the last five years of the seven-year lease option with NYC.
Hunts Point is the world’s largest wholesale terminal produce market and thousands of refrigerated big rigs deliver fresh produce to it daily, for distribution throughout New England and much of the East Coast.
On April 22, the Hunts Point Terminal Produce Cooperative Association sued the city and its Business Integrity Commission, according to court documents filed in Bronx Supreme Court.
The association claims in the suit that the Business Integrity Commission, which oversees many activities at Hunts Point, forced produce wholesalers to hire an unqualified consultant to review the association’s public safety department.
A no-bid contract was issued to Long Island-based Global Consulting LLC, which, the suit argues, not only was unqualified for the job but was run by principals with “checkered law enforcement histories.”
The work Global Consulting did for the association was “superficial” and consisted largely of documents provided by the association itself.
The association is suing the City and the Business Integrity Commission for $500,000.
The lawsuit comes at a time when talks between Hunts Point’s produce vendors and the City over construction of a new terminal market have broken down.
In a January meeting, the market board rejected a city offer to amend its existing lease.
Talks are not expected to resume until 2014, when a new mayor enters office.
Last month the produce vendors at the Hunts Point Terminal Wholesale Market sued New York City, naming as a defendant the Business Integrity Commission, a law-enforcement agency that regulates public food markets and haulers and carters, among other industries. Known as BIC, the agency has long been a source of contention for the produce executives, who claim it oversteps its authority, according to Crain’s New York Business.
Hunts Point is the world’s largest produce wholesale market and thousands of 18 wheelers deliver fresh fruits and vegetable to the complex each week.
The lawsuit accuses BIC of defrauding the produce market and of being duplicitous because although the agency’s role is to root out corruption and remove employees who have ties to organized crime, it awarded a consulting contract several years ago to an obscure security firm whose principals had extensive criminal records. BIC required the market to pay the firm, Global Consulting, $100,000 to prepare a report on security procedures at Hunts Point, Crain’s reports.
Two years of negotiations between the city and the Hunts Point Terminal Produce Market over a new 30-year lease and a revamped facility have led to a dead end and a lawsuit. The two sides agree on only one point: They are at an impasse.
The last time any meaningful discussion took place between the market and the city, which owns the land at the 113-acre site, was in January. That’s when the market, operated by 41 merchants who are part of a cooperative, rejected the city’s offer to extend its lease by 10 years while it continued to work on a deal to renovate the 46-year-old facility.
Not only are we nearing the peak shipping season from California, which accounts for about half of the nation’s fresh produce, but other areas, particularly in the upper mid-west and east are providing competition for trucks.
Caution Hauling Desert Items
Before I get into the Salinas and San Joaquin Valley shipments, use caution loading desert vegetables such as bell peppers and corn as temperatures well above 100 degrees have been occurring. It’s been really hot in the Coachella and Imperial valleys, as well as Arizona’s Yuma district. Little or no report of heat damage has yet been reported but keep your eyes peeled for scalding and other heat symptoms in the days ahead. Even watermelons can suffer if prolonged heat occurs.
Dozens of different kinds of vegetables are being shipped from the Salinas area. But the big volume items are various types of lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower. There also is decent volume with brussel sprouts and celery. Nearby Castroville is the artichoke capital of the world, while nearby Watsonville is ground zero for strawberry shipments.
San Joaquin Valley
This report will focus primarily on summer from from the SJV. We’ll soon cover the many vegetables coming into volume.
Stone fruit, led by peaches, plums and nectarines, are just getting underway from the southern part of the valley.
The consensus appear to be that around 40 to 43 million boxes of stone fruit will be shipped this year from the San Joaquin Valley, which would be pretty average when looking at the volume for the past five years.
California cherry shipments are building and hitting good volume just prior to the Memorial weekend (May 25-27). However, winds damaged 40 to 50% of the early variety Rainier cherries around Bakersfield on May 5th.
There also was some wind damage to almond trees in the Bakersfield area.
Last year, California shipped a record 101.5 milion boxes of grapes. The Coachella Valley, which is shipping now, accounts for 10 percent or less of this volume. The rest comes from the San Joaquin Valley, starting with the Arvin District in late June.
Apple shipments, which took at 30 percent hit last year, are expected to return to normal this year. Beginning in July, California apple shipments get underway, but this is minor (2 million boxes) compared to Washington state (129 million boxes predicted).
Located near Bakersfield, Kern County ships a lot carrots and potatoes, althouigh this time of the year you will get a better freight rate hauling more perishable items ranging from lettuce to stone fruit, grapes and berries.
Kern County potatoes shipments started about a week ago. Due to so much over production of russet potatoes around the country, this variety has been reduced by up to 75 percent. Russets have been replaced primarily with red, yellow and white potatoes.
When Kern County growers are not planting carrots or potatoes in their fields, they use bell peppers as a rotation crop. Bell peppers loadings are just starting and building in volume, continuing until November.
Salinas vegetables – grossing about $5200 to Chicago.
California desert vegetables – about $7300 to New York City.
California cherry shipments kicked off the third week of April and volume is building. Decent loading opportunities are now just beginning to happen. Decent volume for deliveries in time for the Memorial Day holiday (May 25-27), with earlier varieties are expected. However, the later variety bing volume will be substantially less than a year ago.
The San Joaquin Valley southern region including Brooks and Tulare shipments will likely peak May 16-21. Overall peak shipments should be around May 25 to June 7. The bing cherry crop shipments are expected to be off by 30% to 50% from last year, due in large part to an alternate-bearing cycle.
California has had normal asparagus shipments during April, but loadings are expected lighter than usual now and this will probablycontinue through May.
Like so many areas of the country, a colder than normal spring has Michigan asparagus shipments off to a slow to start. Significant increases in volume are not expected until the third week of May, two weeks or more behind schedule.
After recovering from an early March freeze, Florida sweet corn grower-shippers are finally entering peak spring shipments. Peak loadings normally start around mid-April.
Georgia sweet corn shipments also are going to be a little later due to the cold growing season. Corn loadings from Georgia should start in late May, but decent shipments will not be happening until early June. Georgia’s shipments normally end after July 4.
South Georgia vegetables – grossing about $2400 to New York City.
Central Florida vegetables – about $4000 to Boston.
HUNTS POINT WHOLESALE TERMINAL MARKET FACTS:
* Four primary rows with each being one-third of a mile long.
* 1 million square feet of interior space.
* Opened in 1967.
*Has operated as a co-op for about 20 years.
*Has elected board of directors representing about 50 produce companies on the market.
*Hunts Point employees over 3,500 workers.
*Hunts Point serves about 23 million people, mostly in the Northeast with produce from across the nation and from around the world .
*Hunts Point is the largest food distribution center in the world and also includes the Fulton Fish Market. Revenues exceed $2 billion a year.
*Negotiations between the market and NYC over the past 10 years to build a new facility have failed. Produce wholesalers cite needs for more and better cold storage. Rebuilding, renovation, and moving the market to New Jesery are often topics of discussion.
*Unloading delays are commong at Hunts Point in part due to lack of cold storage. Refrigerated trailers are often used as storage facilities. Truckers receive no detention for delayed unloading.
*Hunts Point receives $172.5 million in cash and tax breaks from New York City.
*Hunts Point leaders are in a “fight” with the NYC’s Business Integrity Commission, an agency created to root out organized crime in the carting industry. The commission has overstepped its authority and is interfering with business by setting operating hours and hitting delivery and storage trucks with parking tickets, produce house operators say. They feel the commission has over stepped its authority and its mission should only deal with organized crime.
The on-again, off-again exclusive lease negotiations between the city and the Hunts Point Terminal Produce Market have been extended for the third time, this time through October 31st, according to a recent article on Crain’s New York Business.com.
Hunts Point is the world’s largest wholesale terminal market. Located in New York City’s, South Bronx, it is a cooperative with 115 merchants. Thousands of refrigerated big rigs deliver loads of fresh fruits and vegetables to the market each week from across the USA, as well as from Canada and Mexico.
The extended negotiations are between the Economic Develpment Corp. and the Hunts Point co-op. Hunts Point officials have been threatening to move the humongus facilty to New Jersey for years.
The incentive is a public hearing the merchants requested of city council members to discuss the city’s Business Integrity Commission, which has regulatory authority over the market. The hearing is set for Oct. 23.
Last June the federal government offered $10 million to help modernize Hunts Point. The market, which opened in 1967, faces many challenges ane the one state-of-the-art terminal is now showing its age.
Buildings are in need of renovation and a shortage of cold storage has many companies storing fresh produce in trailers parked in front and/or in back of their units. Loading docks are not refrigerated.
There are complaints trucker access into and out of the market is poor and that roads are in disrepair or just cannot handle the heavy traffic.
Everyone agrees on one thing: something has to be done. Numerous negotiations, talks, meetings, task forces and committees over the years failed to come to a solution. Politics. governments and red tape all contributed to a slow moving process.
New Jersey has aggressively made bids to move Hunts Point to the Garden State. However, the Hunts Point co-op continues negotiating with New York City on rebuilding the facility at its current location. In reality, most Hunts Point tenants prefer remain right where they are.
The current 10-year lease on the market expired in May 2011, and on June 19, 2012, the federal government offered $10 million to help modernize the large market, but first the market’s merchants and the city must agree to a new lease.
The merchants in reality have little use for New York City’s Business Integrity Commission stating the agency is assessing needless fees and penalties for various infractions, including parking violations within the market. The situation reached an impasse in late August when the merchants decided not to renew their exclusivity agreement to negotiate a new lease with the city, citing their differences with the commission as the reason.
But don’t hold your breath, it will probably be a cold day in hell before Hunts Point uproots to New Jersey, or anyplace else.
New York ranks among the top five states in shipments of fresh fruits and vegetables. Produce shippers are located in many different regions of the state. Since New York is over 300 miles wide from East to West this covers a lot of territory. We’ll be covering apples soon, but right now we’ll focus on vegetable shipments, which are underway.
For example items are available for hauling such as cabbage, beans, squash, cucumbers and potatoes from shippers in the Rochester, as well as Buffalo, NY areas. Such operations are located near small agriculture communities such as Elba located just west of Rochester, as well as Marion just east of Rochester, and Eden found south of Buffalo.
Cabbage is a big item near the towns of Holley and Stanley, NY.
Orange County New York has a number of large onion shippers. Shipments are expected to get underway around the third week of August.
A primary destination for New York produce shipments, of course, is the Hunts Point Terminal Wholesale Market in New York City, although loads are also destined to a number of other major cities ranging from Boston to Philadelphia and Atlanta, among others.
If there’s something I’d be willing to bet the farm on – if I had one – it would be that the Hunts Point Terminal Wholesale Market – at least in my lifetime, will never leave the South Bronx for New Jersey, or anywhere else.
This once again comes to mind as New York City and the governing body of the world’s largest wholesale produce market – the Hunts Point Terminal Produce Market Cooperative, have agreed to a 90-day extension for exclusive negotiations to continue trying to reach a long-term lease. In essence, this gives the involved parties through May to negotiate.
While New York City certainly doesn’t want Hunts Point to move its facilities to New Jersey, which keeps offering it tax incentives to do so, it’s not going to happen. New York City loves the taxes it receives from the $2 billion in annual revenues Hunts Point generates. There are 47 vendors, primarily wholesale receivers and distributors, on Hunts Point, and they love the location. It is situated in the middle of America’s largest concentrated population. The last thing they want is a wholesale market in Jersey, and having to distribute fresh fruits and veggies to customers in New York City, which would require crossing the gridlocked George Washington Bridge, Lincoln Tunnel and countless other thoroughfares going over and under the giant Hudson River.
While it might be a long haul produce trucker’s dream delivering product in New Jersey rather than the South Bronx, it isn’t going to happen. The only reason the Hunt Point folks even pretend to want to move to Jersey is as a negotiation tool to leverage a better deal with New York City, who actually owns and leases Hunts Point.