Posts Tagged “Nogales”

Funding is Approved to Expand Mariposa Road in Nogales

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A33By Fresh Produce Association of the Americas

Nogales, AZ — The Arizona State Transportation Board announced they will fund the full build-out and expansion of State Route 189 (Mariposa Road) to the tune of $134 million.  SR 189, is the main thoroughfare for trucks crossing the Mariposa Port of Entry in Nogales and heading northbound on I-19 to area warehouses.

The full-funding announcement is a revision from earlier budget commitments to complete the work in two phases over the course of several years.  The funding package also leverages state, federal, and local funding that make up the entire $134 million price tag.

“The road improvement should speed roundtrip delivery from the port of entry to some warehouses by 20 minutes or more per truck, giving companies a valuable incentive to locate their operations in Nogales,” said Lance Jungmeyer, Fresh Produce Association of  the Americas president (FPAA).

“This is the culmination of many years of hard work in unifying support from groups across Arizona about this important roadway,” Jungmeyer said.  “From Flagstaff to Phoenix to Tucson, communities were all talking about the importance of funding this much-needed expansion. We are always looking for ways to speed up the produce superhighway that is Nogales, and this funding is an important step in our continued success.”

Nogales and Santa Cruz County are committing approximately $45 million over the course of several years from their share of a fee paid by produce trucks crossing the border. The State Legislature committed $25 million of general fund money to this project. The road is also recognized as vital on a Federal level as well as evidenced by the investment of $25 million for the project through the award of a Federal Tiger Grant.

The project will fund important enhancements to the entire length of SR 189 and will also construct a flyover ramp connecting SR 189 to I-19, which eliminates stoplights and left-hand turns that currently hamper movement of heavy trucks onto the interstate.  The project is also designed as a crucial safety measure by separating the ingress and egress of local high school traffic from the intersection where it meets with the commercial traffic on SR 189.  The project has been fast-tracked to begin in 2019.

Added Jungmeyer, “SR 189 is the artery that drives our economy by facilitating the movement of trucks and passengers into and out of Arizona, and we are excited about the positive benefits this will bring to our members in the form of faster, safer, more reliable deliveries to their warehouses. Ultimately this will be a major win for our customers and the end consumers because we will have faster deliveries of the fresh, high-quality produce that is synonymous with Nogales.”

About the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas:

The FPAA is a nonprofit trade association headquartered in Nogales, Arizona, that represents over 120 U.S. member companies involved in growing, packing, sales and transportation of fresh fruits and vegetables grown in Mexico. Produce from Mexico accounts for approximately 37 percent of fruit and vegetable consumption in the U.S. during the winter months.  The Mariposa Port of Entry located in Nogales is the largest port of entry for fresh produce imported into the U.S. from Mexico.

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Nogales Crossing Delays; Bananas are now Arriving at Wilmington

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DSCN9002Delays in Mexican produce crossing the border, which also means in delays for produce haulers picking up product at distribution centers, is occurring at Nogales, AZ…..Also, bananas are now arriving for the first time by boat at Wilmington, NC.

Nogales is a leading port of entry for Mexican fresh vegetables, amounting to $2 billion in 2016, is having delays due in large part from a shortage of officers.

A shortage of as many ad 300 officers is reported a US. Customs and Broker Protection (CBP). The results are long lines delaying produce border crossings.

Citing security reasons the CBP doesn’t reveal exactly how many officers are currently working at the gateway.  However, they acknowledge the port is rotating staff by bring in officers from other ports around the U.S. to Nogales for 90-day work assignments.  As many as 175 officers have relocated to the Nogales for temporary duty, reports the National Treasury Employees Union.

In 2016 alone, $8.3 billion worth of U.S. exports when from Arizona into Mexico.  Also in 2016, $7.4 billion in Mexican goods were imported into Arizona.

Not only is commerce adversely affected by the delays at Nogales, but travelers looking to cross the border are looking at lengthy delays.

Anthony Reardon, president of the Nogales, National Treasury Employees notes CBP’s protracted and complicated hiring process, strict polygraph testing, and extensive training times are all at play when he recently testified before congress.  This has resulted in 3700 vacant positions for the agency, simply due to the 12 to 18 month hiring process.

Banana Imports at Wilmington

Bananas imported from Central America recently began arriving at the Port of Wilmington (NC).    The inital arrival marks the beginning of a 12-month commitment to bring weekly deliveries of bananas for distribution by truck to distribution centers across North Carolina and South Carolina.

Wilmington is the first South Atlantic port to implement both phases of the Department of Agriculture’s Southeast In-Transit Cold Treatment Pilot program, which allows for more direct imports of produce.

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Nogales Gearing up for Shipments from West Mexico

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151_5194Normal volume of winter vegetables from West Mexico crossing the border at Nogales, AZ is expected this season.

While limited volume with winter veggies has been occuring for over a month, crossings are gradually increasing in December.  Heaviest volume typically occurs after the first of the year and remains heavy through March.  As vegetable volume declines, table grapes typically start crossing the border in April.

Among the larger Mexican produce shipments this time of the year are watermelons, squash, peppers, eggplant and cucumbers.  However, it is tomatoes that really get shipments going.  Tomatoes, along with green beans, are just getting started.

While overall volume this winter should be fairly normal, there apparently are a lot more Mexican watermelons crossing the border.

A trend produce truckers are likely to notice, especially in coming years, is that produce crossing the border at Nogales is on the decline, while increasing in South Texas.

One reason is that central Mexico grows fresh produce on a year around basis, and most of that product is distributed to the U.S. and Canada through South Texas.  As the same time produce grown in the Sinaloa and Sonora ares of West Mexico is grown on a seasonal basis.  This product has historically crossed the border through Nogales.

It was more than a decade ago that construction of the long awaited Mazatlan-Durango Highway started.  Completion of the road is behind schedule, but expected to be ready in the first half of 2014.  West Mexican produce being shipped to the eastern half of the U.S. is expected to be funneled to Texas instead of going through Nogales, using the new 143-mile highway that has 63 tunnels.

Mexican produce at Nogales – grossing about $3500 to Chicago; $5800 to New York City.

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Nogales Winter Produce Loads will be Increasing

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Entering the lightest season volume wise for produce loads, it’s not uncommon for multiple pick ups and drops to fill out the trailer.  Pick ups starting in southern California may extend to the California desert, Yuma and perhaps even Nogales.  Changes for the better are occuring at the Arizona, Mexico border that should improve produce crossings in the USA and reduce delays for loadings at the many Nogales warehouses.

The Mariposa port was built in the 1970s, designed to handled 400 trucks crossing into Arizona daily.  Over the years changes have increased the truck count to around 1600 to 1800 a day.  In the past an estimated 25 percent of the trucks crossing the border into Arizona were delayed because of gridlock on the Mariposa Road (State Route 189), which connects the port to I-19.  Numerous stop lights on the state route often contribute to the delays.

In 2009 a $220 million expansion of the port was started and is scheduled for completion in 2014.  This should increase traffic capabilities to 4,000 to 5,000 trucks a day crossing the border in Nogales.

Meanwhile, there is light volume of watermelon, honeydew, squash, bell peppers, tomatoes and other items crossing the border from Mexico, it will be another month of so before the volume really improves.

Nogales produce is grossing about $3400 to Chicago, about $5800 to New York.

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Increasing Imports Mean More Produce Loads During Winter

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Over the past two decades imported fresh fruits and vegetables have increased substantially.  Not only does this mean year around availability of many items for consumers, but increased loading opportunities – especially during the off season when these items are not available in the USA.  Here’s a look at some produce coming from other countries.

Blueberries from Chile are arriving in the USA and  will continue through April.  With the arrival of the New Year will be the appearance at USA ports with Chilean table grapes and stone fruit.

There is good movement of Central American cantaloupes, honeydews and Mexican honeydews.  Loadings of product from Guatemala should continue into about the second week of January.  Many of the Central American imports arrive a Florida ports.  Imported cantaloupe are crossing the border into Texas from Mexico.  Asparagus is being imported from  Mexico and Peru and should increase in volume in December.

Typically in January, volume from Mexico through Nogales, AZ really picks up, led by table grapes, but including a number of other items.

Biggest Change with Imports Coming Soon

The biggest change in decades with imported produce will start occuring a matter of weeks.  Historically, south Texas has been a major produce shipping area with its fruits and veggies from the Lower Rio Grande Valley and to a much lesser degree from the Winter Garden District, just south of San Antonio.

However, over the past 20 years a lot has changed in Texas.  Today, about 65 percent of the fresh produce moved by Lone Star State shippers is grown in Mexico, with the balance grown in Texas.  The state now ranks third in USA produce shipments, having surpassed Arizona.  California and Florida rank first and second respectively in fresh produce loads.

While much of the imports from Mexico over the years have crossed the border into the USA from Nogales and Tijuana, a significant amount of this tonnage will be shifting to the McAllen, TX border area.  This is due to the 143-mile-long Durango-Mazatlan highway expected to open before the end of the year.

Produce shippers are excited because the new route will mean produce shipments that used to arrive at Nogales and Tijuana and destined from Midwestern and Eastern markets, will no longer have to travel two mountain ranges.  It also is expected to reduce freight costs up to a $1,000.

 

 

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Transportation Guidelines Now Available in Spanish

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By NAPTWG

The North American Produce Transportation Working Group (NAPTWG) announced the posting of a Spanish version of the comprehensive best practices document on their website. The site offers best practice and guidance documents pertaining to the handling and transport of fresh produce to facilitate a seamless, safe, and sustainable global supply-chain. The transportation resources are intended for shippers, receivers and carriers.

“With so many warehouse workers, truckers and others in the industry speaking Spanish, it is vital to have this document translated. It is a very technical document, so it’s crucial that all parties understand this in its entirety,” said Lance Jungmeyer, president of the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas in Nogales (FPAA), Arizona and NAPTWG founding member.

“Presenting these documents in Spanish is a milestone for the NAPTWG and our efforts to harmonize the fresh produce supply chain. Translating the site to make it available to a wider audience is a sign of the group’s commitment to strengthening our cross-border relationships for the advancement of the industry,” said Dan Vaché, vice president of supply chain management for United Fresh.

For more information, please visit the NAPTWG website, which now offers documents in Spanish and French.

The North American Produce Transportation Working Group (NAPTWG) is comprised of more than 25 national and regional produce industry associations, transportation service providers, grower/shippers and perishable receivers. In cooperation with United Fresh Produce Association, NAPTWG works to provide best practice resources to those involved in the fresh produce supply chain.

Source: The North American Produce Transportation Working Group

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Shipments Ahead of the Fourth of July Holiday

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We are quickly approaching time for shipments of produce  for the Fourth of July holiday.  Since Independence Day falls on a Wednesday, a lot of consumers will only have that one day off work, although many do tie extra days off around the holiday.

But to help you try and plan your schedule so you can be home for the holiday, here’s a look at some shipping areas that will be pretty active a week or so before the Fourth, hopefully increasing your chances for faster loadings, transits and getting to your destination.

In the West, the Watsonville district will be the only California area shipping strawberries, but it good volume.  The nearby Salinas Valley should be rockin’ with plenty of vegetable loads.  The same goes for the San Joaquin Valley shipping stone fruit and vegetables.

In Washington, the eastern part of the state has moderate volume with blueberries, but better volume will be coming from Yakima and Wenatchee with late season apples from storage, as well as with cherries, with loadings at a peak.

At Nogales, watermelons from Mexico crossing the border have more than doubled over the past decade.  Yet, loading opportunities are being limited, depending upon with whom one talks, because of the escalating drug cartel violence south of the border.

In Michigan, decent blueberry shipments are expected for the Fourth of July, plus vegetable volume is increasing.

New Jersey blueberry shipments will be supplying most Eastern markets for Independence Day.  The state also is shipping vegetables.

In the Southeast, Georgia continues with Vidalia onions, Ft. Valley area peaches and vegetables from the central and southern part of the state.

Overall Florida produce shipments are down subtantailly by this time of the year, but Belle Glade is shipping a lot of sweet corn.

 

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Trucks Tightening as Demand for Produce Loads Build

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California rates to the East Coast topped $9000 this week, at least from the Salinas Valley, where vegetable volume is really cranking up, plus there is building volume with the nearby Watsonville district strawberries and other berries.  Rates also have increased from other regions of California, ranging from the San Joaquin Valley, to Santa Maria and in the Southern part of the state.  Truck supplies have definately tightened up, but so far, my sources are reporting you can get a truck, if you’re willing to pay for it.

In Arizona, rates remain strong as Mexican melons and table grapes are moving in good volume across the border into the USA.

If for some reason, you are stuck in New Mexico, the new crop of storage onions from the Southern part of the state are now being shipped.  Rates are usually less on onions with a significant factor being you can haul them on flatbeds and other non-refrigerated equipment.

Texas remains active for produce loads, in large part thanks to Mexico.  There are a variety of  Mexican vegetables and tropical fruit crossing into South Texas.  The Lower Rio Grande Valley is shipping watermelons, although weather troubles has reduced loading opportunities there.  The Winter Garden District, just south of San Antonio is loading onions.

Salinas Valley vegetables, Watsonville berries – grossing about $9000 and more to Boston.

San Joaquin Valley stone fruit – about $4000 to Atlanta.

Nogales melons and grapes – about $5000 to Chicago.

New Mexico onions – $3000 to Chicago.

Texas produce – $3000 to Atlanta.

 

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Produce Rates Skyrocket from California

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I arrived in Chicago yesterday (June 4)  and the talk both with people in trucking and in the produce industry was the rates had shot up $1,000 on loads from California to Chicago.  There sure was a lot of complaining from produce companies, but big smiles on the folks in transportation.  It should come as no surprise to anyone.  It happens around June 1st every year as produce spring shipments increase and refrigerated equipment comes into short supply, although trucks seemed to be available, if you were willing the pay the price.

The down side to the rising produce rates, is, as every year, the westbound dry freight rate are awful.  Dry freight from Chicago and the Midwest is grossing only $2400 to $2500 to the West Coast — and some of it is even cheaper.  That may pay for the number 2 diesel, but it’s not going to cover the cost of the driver, or the truck.

Another downside is be wary of  companies with which you may not be familiar.  Some receivers will look for any little thing to make a deduction from your load.  I’m talking about things as petty, for example, as the product in your trailer being one degree off the recommended pulp temperture.  That $1000 extra you thought you were making with the rising rates, isn’t going to look near as good when you are paid, if you face a deduction of $200, $300, $400 or more.

As of today, here’s what some loads are paying coming into Chicago.

From California to Chicago:

6 pick ups, five drops, grossing $7,000

5 pick ups, one drop, grossing $6400 (Think I’d take the next load instead, see the next one listed!)

Fresno, 1 pick up, 1 drop $6400

Nogales melons and grapes – $5000 to Chicago

West Texas (90 miles north of Laredo), potatoes – $2400 to $2500 to Chicago.

By Bill Martin

Special thanks to Eclipse Dist., Elburn, IL for the rate information.

Central Florida potatoes – $3000 to Chicago.

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Let the Good (Rates) Times Roll!

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Supplies of refrigerated equipment from shipping areas c0ast-to-coast  continue to tighten as seasonal fresh fruit and vegetable volume rises.  The result is buyers of produce are being forced to pay higher freight rates and truckers now have the upper hand in rate negotiations.

Truck supplies are especially short in California, Nogales, South Texas and in Florida.

The truck supply situation will continue, and worsen, after Memorial Day as receivers replenish supplies.

California hasn’t even got cranked up yet with produce shipments, although they are certainly getting there.  If you are a produce hauler, let the good times roll.

The week of May 21st there were already a few loads out Southern California, Santa Maria, as well as the Salinas and San Joaquin valleys topping $8000 to places like New York and Boston.

In Arizona, rates for Mexican grapes crossing the border at Nogales, increased the past week by double digits.  The most extreme example was a 30-plus percent hike in rates to Dallas.

Speaking of Texas, strong demand for reefer loads out of the Lower Rio Grande Valley continues.  There’s a lot of watermelons and other Mexican fruits and veggies coming into the USA.

In Florida, rates have been all over the board — especially for hauling red potatoes.  If you hit it right when truck supplies are really short, you could gross $2000 MORE on a load to the Northeast.  Most of the state’s watermelon shipments are coming from areas north of Orlando, with shipments now coming from Georgia.

Salinas Valley vegetables- grossing  about $8200 to Boston with some loads  higher.

Mexican grapes from Nogales – about $3400 to Dallas.

South Texas produce – about $5500 to Boston.

Florida potatoes – anywhere from $3000 to $5000 to New York.

 

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