Posts Tagged “produce loads”

A Look at Upper Midwestern Shipments – and Produce Rates

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DSCN4297From Wisconsin to Michigan and Nebraska; and for good measure we’ve thrown in Colorado; for a look at produce loads.

Wisconsin Produce Shipments

Central Wisconsin potato shipments have leveled off to about 500 truckloads per week.

Wisconsin potatoes – grossing about $1000 to Chicago.

About the only other produced items being shipped from the Badger state are cranberries from such as areas as Tunnel City and Toma, or Babcock.  There’s also some cabbage coming out of Southeastern Wisconsin.

Nebraska Potato Shipments

Nebraska potato shipments are averaging about 200 truckloads weekly.    The Cornhusker state has two primary potato shipping areas.  One is at O’Neill in the Northeastern part of the state, while the other is at Imperial, in the Southwestern are of the state.

Nebraska potatoes grossing about $2125 to Dallas.

Michigan Produce  Shipments

Michigan potato shipments remain light, but continue to gradually increase.

Michigan also has increasing volume with apples, and onions, although all these items are modest in comparison to the leading states of Washington (apples) and Idaho (potatoes and onions).  There are about 300 truckloads of apples being shipped weekly, while potatoes are less than half of this volume.

Michigan apples – grossing about $1000 to Chicago, while onions are grossing about 20 percent less.

Colorado Potato Shipments

The San Luis Valley will become more volume as the harvest has pretty much been completed.  Volume is gradually increasing and currently averaging over 600 truckloads per week.

Colorado potatoes shipments – grossing about $2300 to Houston,.



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Hours of Service, Stricter CARB Rules Blamed for Higher Freight Rates

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IMG_6482Changes in federal hours of service regulations, along with stricter rules by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) are two primary reason refrigerated produce loads have increased this year by as much as 10 percent, according to DAT Solutions, a load board network based in Beaverton, OR.

Over 99 million transactions annually and bases rate estimates on $24 billion of freight bills, according the DAT website, and bases rate estimates on $24 billion of freight bills.

The hours-of-service changes require drivers to stop for rest breaks more often, meaning it takes longer to reach destinations such as distribution centers, many of which were located years ago based on drive times allowed under the old regulations.

Some (truckers) have gone to a relay system where the first one drives so far, then another driver picks up the trailer and takes it on. The downside, particularly with temperature-sensitive loads like produce, is that you don’t have the continuity of one driver taking care of the load for the whole trip,” Montague said.

Higher rates also are attributed to the tightening rates emissions regulations by CARB, which apply not only to trucks picking up and delivering produce in the state, but those merely driving through California.

Montague said as of early June, many of the highest rates in the nation were for trucks going into California. The DAT data for the week ending May 31 showed per mile rates of $2.44 in California for reefers. “At least 90% of the fleets that haul fresh produce have 10 trucks or less,” Montague said, adding that many produce haulers are individual owner-operators with only one truck. “The changes in regulations really make it hard for the smaller operators because of the costs for upgrades. The overall message is a lot of smaller truckers are having trouble.”

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Mexican Produce Loading Opportunities at U.S. Border Crossings

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TkforHP4Here’s a look at produce loads that may be available for Mexician produce at border crossing locations in California, Arizona and Texas.

Mexican Produce Shipments

In large part because of yesterday’s Super Bowl, more avocados were shipped in the U.S. the week of Jan. 19 than in any other week on record.  Nearly 48 million pounds of avocados — almost 44 million of them from Mexico — were shipped during the week.  A big marketing campaign on avocados for a number of years now, geared toward the Super Bowl, has significantly increased shipments – and consumer consumption of guacumole at parties surrounding the big game.

Footnote:  The Seahawks plummeted the Broncos 43 to 8.

California Produce Shipments

Mexico is sending a lot of produce across the border into the U.S. this time of the year, such as Baja California pennisula tomatoes crossing into the state of California.

Texas Produce Shipments

Most of the avocados mentioned in the opening paragraph are coming into the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas.  South Texas also is receiving a lot of tropicals from Mexico, as well as vegetable items.

South Texas produce – grossing about $4600 to New York City.

Nogales Produce Shipments

Nogales, AZ continues to be a big importer.  Currently about  900 truck loads of  vine ripe and plum tomatoes are crossing the border weekly.  There’s also melons, cucumbers, squash, eggplant and other veggies being imported.

Nogales mixed vegetables – grossing about $3500 to Chicago.

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A Little Reflection as We Enter the New Year

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BillysShit 053It’s New Year’s Day and pardon me if I reflect a bit on the past year.

As for this website,, I can’t thank each of you enough for visting the website.  Apparently you are finding it useful in your business.  That was my whole purpose in launcing this site nearly two years ago.

I receive calls on a regular basis, and in many cases when you are looking for produce loads.   Some of you call under the impression I am either a carrier, logistics company or a truck broker – none of which I pretend to be.  Haul, much like the radio reports I did for nearly 20 years (known at the Produce Truckers Network) provided produce reports on loading opportunities, quality of product you’d be hauling and a general idea of what kind of a gross freight rate you should receive.

Our number of visits to the website continue to increase.  It has a relatively new feature, where you can subscribe for free, which continues to have more people in the trucking industry signing up.  With the free subscription, you receive an e-mail consisting of a paragraph relating to the most recent post.  If that bit of information interests you, you can click on the e-mail link and read to the whole story.

Again, thank you for your support.  If you know of a fellow trucker or someone in the trucking industry who may benefit from the website, please let them know about us.

God bless you, your family and business in the New Year. — Bill and Vivian Martin


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From S. Texas to Colorado, Idaho and Oregon, Check Out these Hauls

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DSCN1825Today, we’ll take a look at some loading opportunities starting in South Texas before extending up to Colorado and then over to Idaho and Oregon.

South Texas Produce Loads

The Lower Rio Grande Valley of south Texas is becoming more important every year for produce haulers.  It’s not so much the area is growing more fruits and vegetables, as it is farming operations in Mexico, many with investments by people north of the border, who are expanding operations.  Much of that produce is being shipped into the US for distribution throughout the states and Canada.

Everything from Mexican grown carrots to lemons, plum tomatoes, other vegetables and tropical fruits are crossing the border at McAllen is greater volume.  In the Texas valley itself, shippers are gearing up for shipments of grapefruit and oranges, that will start in the next few weeks.

Colorado Produce Shipments

The San Luis Valley is easily providing the biggest volume and loading opportunties, averaging about 500 truck loads of potatoes per week.  In the north and northeastern part of the state, the volume is much lower, but potatoes and onions are providing at least some partial loads.

San Luis Valley potatoes – grossing about $2200 to Houston.

Onion Shipments

The potato harvest in Idaho continues, but there are still about 1,600 truck load equivalents of spuds being shipped each week, although a higher percent is going by rail than in most other produce shipping points around the country….In Malhuer County, Oregon and eastern Idaho, about 750 truck loads of onions from storage are being shipped.

Idaho potatoes – grossing about $3100 to Chicago. 


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Weather in Eastern USA, Canada Wipes Out A lot of Produce Loads

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DSCN1776Whether we are talking Georgia, New Jersey, Ohio, Eastern Canada and points in between there have been significantly fewer loading opportunites for vegetables this summer – due primarily to weather factors.

Vegetable fields throughout the Southeast were flooded, destroying crops and inflating prices for produce and adversely affecting produce shipments.

 For example, produce loads on squash, okra, butter beans and string beans have been hit hard.  You’ll also notice these items are costing 20 percent or more at your local supermarket.

Some parts of Georgia has received rainfall amounts far exceeding normal. In June, for example, Augusta Regional Airport measured 10.83 inches of rain, the wettest June on record.  July recorded 9.05 inches of rain, 4.72 inches above normal.   The excessive mositure also is adversely affecting quality of produce. 

Check closely what you are putting into the truck to reduce your chances of a claim or load rejection.

In another example, the South Carolina State Farmers Market in West Columbia, S.C., was recently selling sweet corn for $16 a box compared to $10 to $12 last summer, and a box of apples was up $5 to $35.

Weather has greatly reduce shipments of tomatoes from East Coast shipping areas.   With no tomatoes in Florida or Georgia, East Coast markets area having to rely much heavier of truck loadings of tomatoes out of California.

Besides the excessive rains in the Southeast, it has been too wet in New Jersey which ships a lot of vegetables from the Southern part of the state.  Eastern Canada also has have heavy rains.  In Ohio, vegetable shipments are down due to excessive heat.

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Produce Loads: A Look at Shipments Around the Country

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IMG_6550Here’s a look at some produce loading opportunities around the country, as well as what to expect in the next few months.

Vine ripe tomato shipments are crossing the border into the USA from Baja Mexico, plus California mature green tomato loadings are ramping up from Tracy and Newman, CA and other operations in the area.  Tomato loads also are available from Arkansas, South Carolina and Georgia.

California pear shipments got underway last week and are now increasing in volume.  Growers are expected to ship about 4.5 million boxes of fresh-market pears this season. About 2.8 million of those will come from the Sacramento river district, with the lake district accounting for another 1.2 million boxes and Mendocino about 418,000 boxes.

Regarding the extreme heat we’ve been hearing so much about in the West, last weekend the Coachella Valley was apparoaching  120-degrees.  This is bound to adversely affect the tail end of the Coachella grape shipments and very well could end the season a little earlier than planned.  It also means you should be more watchful than usual for quality problems if loading Coachella grapes.

The heat also may adversely affect California vegetables shipments such as eggplant and other items.

In Georgia, steady,  shipments of Vidalia onions will be coming out storages through Labor Day.

The USDA is reporting potato loads could be down for the upcoming fall season as planted acres across the USA are at 1.2 million acres, a drop of 70,700 acres or 6.1 percent.  Idaho has planted 28,000 fewer acres than 2012 and will also harvest 28,000 less acres or a drop of 8.1 percent. Wisconsin acres planted and harvest projections are unchanged from last year at 64,500 and 63,500 respectively.  Washington has planted 160,000 acres or 5,000 less than last year.

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A Glimpse at Produce Loads Across America

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152_5260Summer is here and that means opportunities for produce loads are available not only in California, but pretty much coast-to-coast.  Not only the West Coast, but in Idaho, Colorado, and on the East Coast.

East Coast

For example, peach shipments have moved into good volume from the Fort Valley area of Georgia, as well as from South Carolina.  SC shippers are located primarly south of Columbia.

New Jersey is shipping blueberries, and soon there will be mixed veggies and peaches to haul.

Georgia continues to ship Vidalia onions, with the good news being the quality problems early the season are pretty much out of the way.  At the same time, southern Georgia now has good volume with mixed vegetables.  Watermelons are still being shipped from the northern half of Florida, and are now getting started in Georgia.


In Colorado, the San Luis Valley is shipping about 750 truck loads of potatoes a week.  However, the big spud volume, as always is Idaho, where around 1750 truck load equivelants are moving to market each week – although a fair  amount is being loaded onto the rails.


Imports of citrus from Chile, South Africa and Australia will begin arriving at USA ports in early July and provide good volume through August….Mexican avocados should be providing heavy crossings into the USA this summer and into the fall.

California Produce Loads

In California, between the Watstonville district and Santa Maria an estimated 1300 truck loads of strawberries are being shipped weekly.  Add to this, Salinas vegetables and San Joaquin Valley stone fruit, tomatoes, veggies and other items – and they don’t call California  the nation’s bread basket, or is it produce basket, for nothing.

Idaho potatoes – grossing about $1500 to L.A.

Salinas Valley produce – about $9000 to Boston.

Colorado spuds – about $1700 to Dallas.

Georgia vegetables – about $3300 to New York City.


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West Coast is Providing Plenty of Produce Loads

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IMG_7030California is the hotbed for produce loads right now and it will probably only get better for the next month or so.  Strangely, some loads out of the San Joaquin Valley have been paying a higher rate than the Salinas Valley, even though it’s a shorter haul to eastern markets.

The SJV is rockin’ with increasing volume on a variety of stone fruit, some veggies, while table grapes are about to get started….Meanwhile, Salinas has plenty of mixed vegetables and berries for hauling.

California pears will join the fray when shipments get underway from the Sacramento River district in early July, which is nearly two weeks earlier than last year.

California also has another large avocado crop to ship, with peak loadings now underway from Southern areas ranging from Ventura County down to San Diego.  Strong shipments should continue through August, with volume easing in September.

Washington State

Meanwhile, the new crop of Northwest pears could be the third-largest on record.  Most loads originate from the regions around  Wenatchee and Yakima, WA, plus  Mid-Columbia and Medford, OR.  Total shipments should amount to about 19.8 million 44-pound box equivalents of pears for the fresh market. This estimate is 4 % larger than the five-year average and 2 percent larger than last year’s crop.

Northwest pear shipments should start in early August.

British Columbia Pears

Orchards in the Southeast region of the Okanagan Valley, around Oliver and Osoyoos were clobbered by spring  frost damage and shipments on BC cherries, peaches, nectarines, and apricots could be reduced by 30-40%  on all items.

San Joaquin Valley stone fruit – grossing about $8700 to New York City.

Salina Valley produce – about $8600 to New York City/about $6200 to Chicago.

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Fernado Jemenez is both a Company Driver, Small Fleet Owner

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DSCN0503While the Peterbilt may be considered the Cadillac of trucks with many drivers, Fernado Jemenez will take a Freightliner anyday.  He’s driven both.

Fernado is both a company driver and a small fleet owner. caught up with the Los Angeles-based trucker a couple of months ago at a Pilot Truck Stop  in Vienna, GA, while he was waiting word from dispatch for his next load.

He is driving for I&F Transportation and operating a 2005 Peterbilt, powered by a 470 h.p. Cat diesel, and pulling a 53-Utility trailer with a Carrier reefer unit.

The 40-year-0ld trucker says, “I’m just not happy with this Pete.  It shakes too much; rides rough, and there just is not enough room in the sleeper.  I want to drive a Classic.  I own two Freightliners, and I like them a lot.”

He says the Peterbilt consumes too much fuel and only averages 4.5 mpg.

As the small fleet owner of FJ Transport, he prefers his Freightliners.  His own company uses a combination of working directly with some shippers on loads, while using brokers on others.

Fernado has been trucking six years and wishes the rates on dry freight would pick up, noting that produce loads are paying a lot more.

He had a load of produce from Californa, requring six pick ups that took three days to get loaded.  It was delivered to Pompano Beach, FL.   He deadheaded to Georgia and had been waiting seven hours at the truck stop for his dispatcher to assign a load.

No one said trucking was easy, but Fernado was trying to show patience, waiting on a load to take him back to the West Coast.

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