Posts Tagged “produce haulers”

Shipping Updates: Imported Mexican Produce Crossings in Arizona, Texas

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AAADozens of different types of produce items, led by vegetables, represent crossings at the Mexican border into Nogales, AZ, as well as into the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas.  While produce haulers are feasting on higher freight rates, produce shippers are hoping freight costs will subside soon.

Last week rates on Mexican produce coming through Nogales were higher for some destinations with driver and equipment shortages reported.  For example rates from Nogales to Los Angeles were generally ranging from$1,800 to $2,000 per load, a 6 percent increase from a week earlier, but 50 percent higher than the $1,200 rate at the same time during the past two years.

A few rates exceeded $10,000 from Nogales to New York City last week, but recently have dropped as much as 15 percent.

Tomatoes  (all types) are providing the heaviest volume at around 1,150 truck loads a weeks.  About 900 truck loads of cucumbers are crossing the border each week with squash and bell peppers also having good volume.

Shipments Through South Texas

In the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas some shippers can’t remember such serious truck shortages for this time of the year.  One citrus shipper needed 20 trucks to cover his loads a couple of weeks ago. For a six-week period ending with the first week of January, rates for citrus from the valley to L.A. have soared from $2700 to $5500.  Overall, South Texas produce rates are generally up about 20 percent from a year ago.

Produce rates from South Texas to Chicago have been ranging from $4000 to $5000, with the average being around $4500, still quite a strong rate.  Produce haulers were grossing around $8800 to New York City.

Mexican tomatoes are providing the heaviest volume with about 1000 truck loads a week, with avocados about one-half this volume.  Other leading items range from limes to various types of tomatoes and broccoli.

South Texas grapefruit and oranges are averaging about 350 truck loads each week.


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Truck Rates for Produce are Definately Higher This Year

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DSCN0413The New Year started off with good news for owner operators and small fleet owners, but had those in the produce industry anguishing over the cost of transportation rates.

A few coast-to-coast rates out of California actually topped $10,000 with the beginning of January.  Produce rates have soared as much as 30 percent from some shipping areas.  It has caused some int he produce industry to consider rail service, something they seldom think of when rates are more in line.

Depending on whether you are a trucker or a shipper and whether you have contract rates or are dealing in the spot market has a big affected on how you view the rate changes.

Washington state apple rates out of the Yakima Valley in early January to Boston were grossing about $8,400, which mean an additional one dollar cost onto a each 40-pound box of apples. While produce haulers like it, not so with produce receivers.

Vegetable shipments out of the Imperial Valley of California to New England led by head lettuce was grossing about $8400, about $2200 more than at the same time two years ago.

Electronic logbooks, which recently went into effect are being blamed for some higher rates, although it doesn’t appear the new regulations are really being enforced, at least yet.  The new devices make it more difficult for truckers to fudge on their hours of service and if adhered to means drivers can travel fewer miles per week.

While it may be difficult to pinpoint the exact reasons for higher produce rates, undoubtedly an improving U.S. economy is creating a bigger demand for refrigerated equipment.  Trucking is a hard life and a demanding one and with better economic conditions, many drivers are seeing other jobs becoming available, not only to make more money, but allowing them to be home more with family.  Still, January is supposed to be one of the slowest times of the year for produce truckers as less volume of fruits and vegetables are generally available.  If rates are ever in the tank it is often during the first quarter of the New Year.


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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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Growing Imports are Providing Greater Opportunities for Produce Haulers

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DSCN9856The opportunities for produce haulers to haul imported fresh fruit and vegetables continues to increase as foreign farming operations increasingly recognize the demand in the United States and Canada for year around availability of produce.  Here we take a look at the exports of two South American countries, who are exporting a majority of their fresh produce to North America.

 Peruvian Blueberries

Five years ago there were virtually no blueberries being grown, much less exported by Peru.  Today, the South American country has 10,000 acres and continues to expand due to surging demand from the U.S., Europe, and China, according to the USDA report.

The U.S. is Peru’s primary export market, account for over 50 percent of blueberry exports in 2016 (54 percent).   Much fewer “blues” are exported to the Netherlands (24 percent), the UK (13 percent) and Canada (2 percent).
The USDA report points out total exports of Peruvian blueberries are projected to reach 40,000 metric tons in 2017, up 42 percent from 28,139 metric tons in 2016 and nearly four times the exports of 10,303 metric tons in 2015.  The bulk of Chile’s fresh blueberry exports to the U.S. arrive from September to December, though export shipments can begin in August and continue into April.
The majority of Peru’s blueberry farms are found in the northern coastal region of La Libertad, where the sunny and dry climate allows for nearly year-round harvest.
Peru’s blueberries rank third among that country’s fresh fruit exports.
Peruvian Asparagus
While Peruvian asparagus exports are expected to be lighter than normal during the first half of the season, shipments are expected to make up a lot of ground the second half of the season. However, by season’s end, total volume is expected to be close to normal.  Peak Peruvian exports should kick in around Labor Day.

Chilean Grape Wrap up

Grape exports to North America by Chile rose 11 percent in the 2016-17 season.  The Chilean Fresh Fruit Exporters Association reports that exports to North America totaled 364,770 metric tons, up 11 percent compared with 2015-16.
Additionally the USDA confirms U.S. imports of Chilean grapes from October 2016 through May 2017 totaled 341,000 metric tons, up 10 percent from the previous year.
North America buyers received half of Chile’s total 2016-17 exports of just more than 730,000 metric tons.  Chilean grape exports to all global destinations were up 4 percent in 2016-17.
In 2016-17, the Far East received 23 percent of Chilean grape exports, with Europe taking 17 percent and other destinations accounting for 9 percent of exports.

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Loading Imported Mexican Produce Continues to Increase

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PeppersLoading opportunities for produce haulers for imported Mexican fresh fruits and vegetables have been rising for the past two decades or more, and this trend is expected to continue.

The reasons range from favoritable climates (with the emphasis on the plural) south of the border, cheaper labor and growing costs, not to mention the outrageous political and regulatory climate in crazy California that is makes it ever more difficult to do business there.

For example, A.M. Farms, Stockton, CA., had grown asparagus there since the 1930s, but no longer farms the product.  Dole Fresh Vegetables of Monterey, CA no longer markets asparagus from California and is concentrating its efforts with Mexican grown asparagus.

It used to be Mexican imports by U.S. businesses got underway around Thanksgiving and continued through March or maybe mid-April.  Now some produce items are still crossing the border in late spring and early summer.  For example, watermelon shipments are now available through most of June.  Table grape, mangos and some leafy items go well into summer.

Peak loading opportunities of Mexican produce imports for the winter season, used to be January or February, but now it is closer to being March and April.

Some produce growers are moving farther south into Mexico building greenhouse operations, allowing a longer growing and shipping season.  This helps them bridge the supply gap for the U.S. crops in May and June that are hitting big volume.

Just as some product from west Mexico now is imported through McAllen, TX, during the fall and winter to offer a freight advantages for the Midwest and Eastern markets, some product from Jalisco now comes through Nogales during the spring and summer to offer freight advantages to West Coast receivers.

Some U.S. tomato growers now ship from Mexico year-round by sourcing from new growing areas during what traditionally has been the off season.  Sonora is a huge area for Mexican grown produce and it continues to expand.  It used to be the state of Sinaloa was where the main volume originated.

Virtually all of Mexico’s grapes come from the Caborca and Hermosillo regions of Sonora, with shipments starting in April and continuing into July.

Imported Mexican melons, tomatoes and vegetables from Nogales – grossing about $2800 to Chicago.


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NW U.S., and B.C. Should be Excellent for Cherry Hauling

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DSCN2829+1The Northwest United States, including British Columbia, is shaping up to be an excellent season for produce haulers to haul cherries.

With a very early start expected for Northwest cherry shipments, the prognosticators expects to ship 20.7 million 20-pound boxes this season.  Initial cherry shipments from the Northwest should get underway between May 23 and May 25.  A total of 200,000 boxes could be shipped in May alone.

If this estimate holds, Northwest cherry loadings would be  7 percent above last year’s 19.3 million boxes, but short of the record 23.2 million boxes shipped in 2014.  Rainier cherry shipments in 2016 are expected to total 1.7 million 15-pound boxes, about the same as last year.
The total Northwest cherry industry has the potential to ship 11 million boxes in June and another 9 million in July.   Good volume cherry shipments are expected to start in early June, with significant cherry volume by the week of June 15th.  Peak cherry shipments are expected between the middle of June and continue through the middle of July.
Yakima Valley apple shipments – grossing about $6000 to New York City.

B.C. Cherry Shipments

British Columbia cherry shipments will start in early June.  Record shipments are predicted this season with 12 million pounds being estimated.  This volume would be up from the 10.5 million pounds in 2015.   Most British Columbia cherry shipments are destined for markets in Western Canada and the United States.

California Cherry Shipments

California cherry shipments are  now in full throttle from the San Joaquin Valley.  A good, but not record crop is now being shipped and will continue for another couple of weeks.

San Joaquin Valley produce  shipments- grossing about $4400 to Chicago.

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More Mexican Imports by Boat to Philly are Seen

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IMG_6499+1Increased loading opportunities for imported produce at Philadelphia are becoming available with a new SeaLand refrigerated sea trade route now operational between the east coast of Mexico and Philadelphia.

Produce haulers should benefit as more fresh produce companies in the Northeast become direct distributors of fresh Mexican fruits and vegetables.  The new trade route has been in the works for the past two years spearheaded by Ship Philly First and related Philadelphia trade groups.  The first avocados and limes arrived on a SeaLand ship February 4th from Mexico.   Ramped up operators are now occurring.

When SeaLand formally announced the service on December. 17th, it indicated the SeaLand Atlantico refrigerated containership route would debark on Tuesdays from the Port of Veracruz.  It will then take two days to arrive in Port Altamira, a Mexican port to the north of Veracruz.  The ship will leave on Thursdays — the same day as arrival — and then arrive at Philadelphia’s Packer Avenue Marine Terminal on the following Wednesday.

The six-day transit time from Mexico to Philadelphia means trucks will be delivering Mexican produce up to 40 percent of the U.S. population within a day’s drive.

SeaLand has indicated that 100 containers shipped aboard SeaLand Atlantico would save 31,487 gallons of fuel versus what trucks would burn on the same delivery. 600 containers will save 188,821 gallons of fuel.

Mangos are a very important commodity for this service.  Truck transportation will continue to be the primary way Mexican produce is hauled with product grown within a certain distance of Nogales, San Diego or South Texas.  However, Mexican growers to the south and east can gain a great deal by looking toward the ocean link.  Still, trucks will be required, once the boats arrive at port, and boats certainly can’t handle nearly all of the Mexican volume, not matter where it originates.


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Western Shipping Update: Santa Maria, CA; Mexico and Melons

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DSCN0519+1From Santa Mara, CA vegetables, to Mexican imports and a USDA update on melon availablity, here are some shipping opportunities for produce haulers.

Vegetable shippers in California’s Santa Maria district see stable shipments this spring, even though the region didn’t get as thorough a winter soaking from El Niño as forecasts suggested.  The California drought persists.  Santa Maria started loading  mixed leaf lettuce in early March, nearly two weeks earlier than usual.  Salinas started at the end of the month.

Broccoli and cauliflower shipments are underway in Santa Maria, while celery has in light volume, but should be increasing this week.  Santa Maria produce shipments also now include strawberries, celery, romaine, romaine hearts, Tuscan kale, red kale, green kale, cilantro and parsley.

Santa Maria vegetable shipments – grossing about $6500 to New York City.

Mexican Produce Imports

At Nogales, border crossing include Mexican vine-ripes, romas, grapes and cherries, which continue through April.  With the finish of tomatoes, the new Mexican table grape season launches with crossings at Nogales and McAllen, Tx.  Vine ripe tomato shipments from Baja California also begin crossing near San Diego.

Carrot shipments from the Bakersfield, CA area have shifted to the Imperial Valley.

Mexican vegetable shipments through Nogales – grossing about $2000 to Dallas.

Melon Shipments

The USDA’ Market News Service reported as of April 5th the “difference in pounds from average”  as follows: Mexico/5.3 million pounds, up 11 percent; Honduras/1.8 million pounds, up 105 percent; Costa Rica/780,000 pounds, up 166 percent; Nicaragua/-468,000 pounds, down 100 percent; Florida/-680,000 pounds, down 100 percent; and Guatemala/-1.25 million pounds, down 21 percent.

Florida watermelon shipments are increasing, along with numerous vegetables.

South Florida watermelon shipments, vegetables – grossing about $1000 to Atlanta.

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NW Fall Fruit Shipments Coming Soon, Look Good

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DSCN5897Northwest produce haulers are already looking to fall shipments of several varieties of apples, pears and even apricots as well as some summer tree fruit.

Wenatchee Valley peaches and nectarines will begin in mid-July and run through early September.   New crop pear and apple shipments get underway in early August.

Apple loadings will kick off with ginger golds the last week in July, followed by galas.  Weather factors have crops coming on about 10 earlier than normal.  Remanents of the huge Red Delicious crop from last season continue to be shipped from storage.  Improved storage technology has resulted in varieties like granny smith, golden delicious, galas and red delicious to be shipped out of Washington year-round.

Honeycrisp apples will start shipping in late August and continue until the end of May.  That variety has really taken off in popularity with consumers and eventually, with added production, it should be available the year-round for hauling.

Apples continue to lead Northwest produce shipments, averaging about 2000 truck load equivalents weekly from the Yakima and Wenatchee Valleys, followed by cherries with about 1500 loads a week.  There is moderate volume with onions coming out of Washington’s Columbia Basin and Oregon’s Umatilla Basin.

Yakima Valley fruit – grossing about $5400 to Dallas.



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Pre-July 4th Shipments Should be Heavy on Favorite Produce Items

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DSCN3786There should be excellent loading opportunities for produce haulers as shipments start to ramp up ahead of the Fourth of July.  Here’s a round up of some Independence Day produce favorites.

Watermelon Shipments

On the East Coast watermelons loadings will be available from Northern Florida, Georgia and North Carolina.  While Florida melon shipments are rapidly declining, Georgia loadings just started this week, with decent volume seen the week of June 15th….Meanwhile, in North Carolina, shipments of seeded watermelons should get underway around June 25th, followed by seedless melons about July 1st.

Northern Florida watermelons – grossing about $3200 to New York City.

In the Midwest, Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri are typically shipping watermelons by late June or early July.  However, use caution as many of these regions have been hit with heavy rains and cloudy weather for days on end.  It has to have adversely affected quality, at least with some of these production areas.  However, hot, dry weather has set in the past week or so.  Maybe this will help.

Sweet Corn Shipments

Georgia should be shipping good volumes of sweet corn ranging from Bainbridge to the Vidalia area.

South Georgia sweet corn, or vegetables – grossing about $3600 to Boston.

Berry Shipments

Heavy volume with strawberries should be coming out of the Watsonville/Salinas area.  California also will have strawberry loadings from the Santa Maria district…..California blueberry shipments could be a little “ify.”  “Blues” are now shifting from the Golden State to Oregon, Washington and British Columbia.

Watsonville berries and Salinas Valley vegetables – grossing about $7500 to New York City.


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