Posts Tagged “refrigerated trucks”
“Name me a city or a state and I will tell you trucks have been tight,” states Bob Rose of the Allen Lund Company LLC.
Rose should know. He is the manager of the firm’s San Francisco office and has been with the transportation and logistics company 31 years. Based in LaCanada, CA, Allen Lund Company has 34 offices nationwide, working with 21,000 trucking companies, providing it with a keen pulse of truck availability.
The last three quarters of 2017 rates have been stronger, reflecting increased demand for equipment.
Allen Lund Company moves about 90,000 loads a year with a significant portion of this being perishables.
Rose doesn’t expect truck availability to improve any the rest of the year, and points out holidays such as Thanksgiving (November 23rd) always means increased demand for fresh fruits and vegetables and refrigerated trucks.
The ethnic population in the U.S. also is a factor with higher volume and demand for equipment to deliver product for their holiday observances.
“Not everyone can haul produce,” says Rose, in reference to the extra demands and knowledge required of drivers hauling perishables.
He also expresses concerns over the looming electronic logging device (ELD) requirement mandate, which the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance will begin phasing in December 18th unless it is delayed, as many hope. Plans to start using out-of-service criteria connected with the ELD mandate begins April 1st.
While the large carriers and their trucking associations tend to support ELDs, owner operators and small fleets often view it as limiting their ability to provide superior service, increases their costs of operation, and being another rule limiting their freedom of choice as professional drivers.
“Not a lot of the large carriers are hauling produce,” observes Rose. “Most of it is transported by owner operators and small trucking companies.”
He believes the tight truck supplies are resulting primarily due to the industry being at or near full capacity.
“We talk a lot about truck shortages, but with ELDs, we will feel it. But no one yet knows how ELDs will be enforced,” Rose says.
As a result, he notes Allen Lund Company is looking for ways to reduce the costly delays too often found at loading and unloading docks. They also are seeking improved routes for trucking since customers are maintaining lower inventories and want faster deliveries.
“I want to figure out how to pay drivers more so they can truck less and still support their families,” Rose concludes.
California produce rates have been showing strength with an increased demand for refrigerated trucks in areas ranging from the Salinas and San Joaquin Valleys to Santa Maria and down south in Ventura County. The increases have generally been around one to five percent.
With the official arrival of fall occurring September 22d, which is the arrival of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere and spring in the Southern Hemisphere. It also means the transition of many produce shipping areas, if not from one hemisphere to another, but at least from one country to another, or in some cases, especially in the Western U.S., shifting locations in the same state or a neighboring state.
California certainly is the best example of the changing season.
As Watsonville strawberry shipments decline the red berry’s volume is now increasing to the south in Ventura County. In California’s Central San Joaquin Valley, nearly 900 truck loads of cantaloupe are being shipped weekly from the Westside District, but this will soon be in a seasonal decline. At the same time, very light loadings of melons have started from Central and Western Arizona and are increasing. California honeydew volume already is in a seasonal decline with the new season barely underway in Central Arizona and will start in Western Arizona in the next week or so.
San Joaquin Valley table grapes is probably the state’s single biggest volume item averaging around 1750 truck loads weekly. The combined volume of head lettuce and romaine from the Salinas Valley has recently had similar volume to grapes, but lettuce volume will start sliding soon, to eventually give away to desert shipping areas in California and Arizona. Salinas also is offering around 600 loads of celery per week. To the south in Kern County, carrots are totaling about 750 loads.
Salinas vegetables – grossing about $5100 to Chicago; San Joaquin Valley fruit – grossing about $6200 to Baltimore.
Importers of Mexican produce at Nogales are frustrated over the lack of adequate truck supplies, high freight rates and are looking to the railroads to solve some of their problems, according to a recent news story in The Packer, a weekly newspaper for the fresh produce industry.
Struggling to acquire enough refrigerated trucks, complaints were common as the holiday season approached in late 2014. One importer described it as the worst holiday season they ever experienced getting enough trucks. However, some say the equipment shortages extend well beyond the holidays. As a result importers are taking a look at rail service.
Rail is conducive to a number of Mexican vegetables crossing the border at Nogales ranging from had shell squash, cucumbers and other hard grown Mexican items.
The Union Pacific Railroad is currently upgrading 20 miles of rail near the U.S.-Mexican border to make it easier for inspectors to check loads. There also is development of a rail switching yard in Tucson, which would help rail service.
If rail service is fast enough, items such as bell peppers also would be considered. One shipper complained of paying up to $6 per box in some cases to ship product from Nogales to the East Coast this past vegetable season.
Nogales is pretty dead this time of the year with the exception of the Mexican grape season which has just got underway.
Florida tomatoes are providing the heaviest volume averaging about 750 truck loads weekly. There also is good, but increasing volume with sweet corn, cucumbers, bell peppers and potatoes. A number of other mixed vegetables also are being shipped.
Spring growing conditions in Florida is resulting in mostly good quality product for hauling for items originating out of central and southern areas of the state.
Blueberries shipments have become a big item in Florida and growers expect to harvest between to 21 million-22 million pounds, up from the 17 million shipped last year. Volume will be increasing through mid-April. Steady shipments are now expected through May, overlapping an expected later than normal start in Georgia.
Growers in northern Florida began harvesting the week of April 6th with much higher shipments seen this week. Florida typically finishes blueberry shipments by Mid May, but due to excellent growing weather, loadings are expected to continue further into May.
Because of February freezes, Georgia is expected to increase harvests in early May, later than the typical mid- to late-April start.
Central Florida blueberries – grossing about $2800 to Chicago.
Southern and Central tomatoes and vegetables – grossing about $3200 to New York City.
CLACKAMAS, Oregon, USA – Miatech launched dedicated e-commerce website for selling Eris Filters, their product for protecting fresh fruits and vegetables from ethylene and airborne pathogens during transportation. The online store is available at www.eris-filter.com.
Eris Filter, offered by Miatech was nominated for an award by Fruit Logistica in the past for its innovative qualities. It’s a disposable filter designed to remove both ethylene gas and airborne pathogens from refrigerated trucks and containers. Due to its unique design Eris Filter literally kills two birds with one stone.
Costas Iconomou, Miatech’s CEO, shared: “The online platform will make it much easier for our customers to order Eris Filters. All they need to do is to go to www.eris-filter.com, select quantity of filters they want to order, enter credit card details and confirm the order: any time, in any corner of the world.”
Currently eris-filter.com accepts MasterCard and Visa credit cards and offers free shipping all over the world on all standard orders.
Miatech manufactures various solutions for preserving postharvest quality of fruits and vegetables, including professional humidification systems and solutions for eliminating ethylene and fighting airborne pathogens. Learn more about Miatech by visiting: http://postharvest.miatech.org/