Posts Tagged “rates”
Since a significant rise in early June of rates for hauling fresh produce from some major shipping areas — particuarly the west coast, it has been a pretty quiet summer as rates have remained relatively stable, and few serious truck shortages have occurred.
While some produce items may have record shipments this year, such as California grapes and Washington state cherries, other areas ranging from Michigan fruit to South Texas vegetables, as well as California stone fruit, have taken some hits from the weather. I’m sure there may be other factors involved ranging from more contract rates, which tend to provide more rate stability on a seasonal, if not a year around basis. The struggling economy, with a lot of pitfully low rates for dry freight, may have more carriers seeking higher paying produce loads, particularly this time of the year.
Nationally, here’s a glimpse at loading opportunities for fresh fruits and vegetables.
South Carolina peaches are still being shipped , primarily in an area located south and southeast of Columbia stretching to the Georgia state line. Speaking of Georgia, peach loadings are on their last leg and should be finished within a week as the latter part of the season had exceptionally light production. South Carolina won’t be far behind.
In South Texas, various citrus, tropical fruits and vegetables from Mexico continue crossing the border into the Lone Star State. They join lesser amounts of produce grown and shipped from the Lower Rio Grande Valley.
Southern New Mexico continues to ship onions…..In Michigan, blueberries and various vegetables such as cucumbers and squash are providing loads.
In Idaho, the country’s largest potato shipper continues to provide hauls from the 2011-12 harvest. New product should become available for hauling next month.
In the Columbia Basin of Washington state, potato and onion loads remain available. An excellent crop of sweet cherries are now coming out of Washington’s Yakima and Wenachee valleys, along with late season apples. Shipments of Washington pears are virtually finished.
In California, the vast majority of produce shipments are now coming from shipping areas north of Interstate 10.
Salinas Valley vegetables are generally grossing – about $7700 to New York City.
Washington states potatoes and onions from the Columbia Basin – about $3000 to Chicago.
South Carolina peaches – about $3400 to Boston.
Georgia peaches – $3300 to New York City.
In a nutshell, produce truckers too often receive the shaft in unfair claims and deductions from the produce industry. And the produce industry, which has protections in disputes, won’t even consider allowing these same truckers the protections they enjoy. More about this in a moment.
It is turning into a relatively uneventful produce shipping and hauling season, as far as total produce volume as well as supply and demand for refrigerated equipment. Rates remain strong from the major shipping areas, but not setting any records. Any produce shipping area that may be reporting a shortage of trucks is probably experiencing this shortage primarily due to not increasing the rates enough to attract more equipment. Often the shipping areas are off the beaten path, and providing more lower cost, basic or “hardware” produce items.
Also, when I describe the summer produce shipping season as “relatively uneventful,” I qualify that by saying there still are the usual unfair claims and deduction on loads at destination. Combine this with the fact, there have been a number of produce companies file for bankruptcy this year, it increases the odds that the trucker will be the last to paid, and probably not receive a dime of what is owed.
Many if not most produce companies receive protections under the Perishable Commodites Act (PACA) that provides protections and arbitation in disputes between members of the produce industry. However, as I’ve “preached” for decades now, truckers are not afforded the same protections. So if you are owed money by a bankrupt receiver, you are pretty much on your own in trying to collect monies owed. Even with a receiver not involved in a bankruptcy, and there is an unfair claim or deduction, unless you have an exceptional carrier, shipper or broker behind you, or you can afford a lawyer to represent you, mostly likely in a state hundreds if not thousands of miles away — you are out of luck.
Meanwhile, the produce industry continues to have meetings, conferences, teleconferences, etc. now and then, that promote good and fair treatment of produce truckers. This is honorable. There are actually some people in the industry that care and would love to see produce haulers receive the same protections as members of the produce industry. But they are easily in the minority and lack the clout to do much about it.
Large produce companies with political clout and money generally won’t consider PACA protections for truckers — and until this changes — no one in the Federal government has the will, stomach, or abililty to fight for this needed change. — Bill Martin
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.
Volume and shipments continue to seasonally build in California, resulting in more demand for refrigerated equipment. This means rising freight rates, which have increased five to 10 percent and more recently.
There will be huge increase in avocado shipments this year — as much as 25 percent more out of Southern California. Cinco de Mayo, the Mexican festival widely celebrated in the U.S. May 5 will mean big shipments of the fruit. The amount of avocados shipped to U.S. markets with be split about evenly from those loaded in California, and with avocado border crossings from Mexico. Southern California also will be loading berries and citrus.
Various types of lettuce shipments are increasing from the Huron District in the San Joaquin Valley. Broccoli and cauliflower loadings have started from the Salinas Valley. Light volume with strawberries, broccoli and cauliflower has got underway from Santa Maria.
There have actually been a few $7000 freight rates from California to the East Coast. It’s going to be interesting in another month of so to see how high freight rates have risen as produce volume and demand for refrigerated equipment builds.
Southern California produce – grossing about $6700 to Boston.
NOTE: Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of a much smaller, less trained Mexican military unit that defeated the French in battle in 1862.