Posts Tagged “Virginia”

Eastern Shore Produce Loadings are Starting This Week

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IMG_7011Very light shipments of Eastern Shore vegetables get underway this week, with loadings in full swing expected by early July.  The Eastern Shore is an area including parts of Virginia, Maryland and Delaware.

Virginia farming operation usually produce about 3,000 to 4,000 acres of red, yellow and russet potatoes, although there has been an eight to 10 percent decrease this year.

The majority of Virginia spuds are shipped to the eastern half of the country. When northern areas are not producing, much of the crop is trucked to those regions. When the Southern states stopshipping, loads are redirected to the South.

There has been a significant acreage in tomatoes, potatoes and green beans, which are the big three items on the Eastern Shore.   The largest green bean operation is at Cheriton, VA.   There are two major tomato operations on the Eastern Shore, that ship round, roma, grape, cherry and heirloom tomatoes, which will continue from late June through September.

 Of the Eastern Shore potatoes that are shipped, about 60 percent go to tablestock and the remainder goes to chip processing.   Potato loadings occur from late June through the first week of August.    Harvest started last week.

The Eastern Shore region is part of the Delmarva Peninsula and is separated from the rest of Virginia by the Chesapeake Bay.

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Eastern Apple Shipments will be down This Season

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There will be fewer apples for hauling in two of four of the leading eastern states this fall.  New York got hit the hardest by frost related weather earlier this year, but there also will be fewer loads available for produce haulers in North Carolina.  Pennsylvania and Virginia will be up in volume only slightly.

New York state’s Western and Central apple shipping areas were hit the hardest, with less frost damage occuring in the eastern part of the state, home of the Hudson Valley.  Still, New York’s volume will be down 52 percent from last apple season ( 590 million pounds compared to 1.2 billion pound a year ago). 

In Pennsylvania, apples are forecast to be at 481 million pounds.  It shipped 458 million pounds last year. 

North Carolina took a beating.  This year it expects to load 40 million pounds of apples compared to 140 million pounds in 2011.

The leading apple shipper in the mid-west, Michigan will ship 85 percent fewer apples this season.

Ironically, Washington state, which normally ships about half of the nation’s apples every year, is expected to account for 77 percent of the nation’s apple loads for 2012-13.  This is despite suffering some hail damage.  The state was on track for historic volume, until the fowl weather hit.  Still, Washington state is expected to have its second largest amount of apple shipments on record.

One difference produce haulers can expect out of the Northwest this season is for Washington shippers to be packing more apples than normal in the smaller, consumer bags.  This is because Michigan normally is heavy with bagged apples, and Washington packers will be looking to help fill this void.

Produce truckers should always watch what is being loaded, not only for proper count, but for quality and appearance of the product being loaded.  This is especially true if you are hauling apples from most shipping areas this season.  Expect shippers to be loading some fruit with pits or hail damage marks on it.  Just make sure whom you are hauling for is aware of this situation to help reduce changes of claims or rejected loads.   Also, be sure and note it on the bill of lading.

Washington state apples grossing – about $5600 to New York City.

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Loading Opportunities Around the Country

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While I’ve written some reports suggesting caution when loading Washington state apples from the Wenachee Valley due to damage from a July 20 hail storm, information is now starting to come out relating to the pears from the same area.  Expect pear shippers to be loading some “hail grade” pears.  Appearance is affected, but eating quality should be fine.  Just make sure the parties with whom you are working to deliver the load are aware of this condition to the fruit and it is noted on the bill of lading.  Washington state pear shipments are expected to set a record this season volume wise.

In Michigan, produce shipments have been running early this season, not only for vegetables, but blueberries.  Expect both to complete shipping a week or two ahead of schedule this summer.  Michigan blueberry volume will drop significantly beginning the week of August 27th…..Expect a similar situation with “blues” coming out of Oregon and British Columbia.

In the San Luis Valley of Colorado, potato hauls should be ramping up by the end of August…Virtually all USA potato shipping areas are expecting to load more spuds during the 2012-13 shipping season.

On the East Coast, watermelon shipments have increased significantly over the past three years from Maryland and Delaware.  Virginia also is shipping melons…..Expect increased loading opportunities on watermelons for the upcoming Labor Day weekend from areas ranging from West Texas to Indiana and North Carolina.

Delaware watermelons – grossing about $1100 to New York City.


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National Apple Hauling Outlook

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Looking across the USA, there will be a lot of loading opportunities for apples, particularly in the west, although fewer than a several months ago before weather factors hit some orchards.

In the East, there actually should be a few more loads available for the 2012-13 season from both Pennsylvania and Virginia.  No word on the New England states, but volume from there is relatively light even in good years.

New York state, particularly the central and western shipping areas took a significant hit from freezing weather earlier in the year.  The Hudson Valley apparently escaped pretty much unscathed.  Overall, New York state apple shipments will be down around 50 percent, estimated to be about 590 million pounds.  Before the freeze, the state was looking at about 1.2 billion pounds of apples.

Poor ole Michigan took the biggest hit from freezing temperatures this year.  At one time is was looking to ship 985 million pounds.  Apple tonnage now is forecast at only 105 million pounds.

Washington state, which on any given year shipments about as many apples as the rest of the other states combined, also lost tonnage a few weeks ago from hail storms.  However, it was on course to have record shipments.  Even though that will not now happen, it still will be loading as much fruit on average, as it has over the past five seasons.

Washington’s Yakima and Wenatchee Valley apples – grossing about $5300 to New York City and Hunts Point.


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Will Produce Rates Increase for Fourth of July?

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Normally we would see a bump in rates for hauling produce as the Fourth of July holiday approaches – when Independence Day falls on any day but Wednesday.   This is not to say there will not be a increase in produce rates, but some observers are saying it may not be as high, or may not even occur this year for the holiday.  Regardless, strong demand for refrigerated equipment will continue before and after the Fourth, and rates are expected to remain healthy in the coming weeks.

In Southeastern Arkansas, peak tomato shipments are continuing.  While it has been an excellent growing season, triple digit temperatures have moved in.  If the extreme heat continues the mid July conclusion to tomato shipments may happen even before that.

In Virginia, some are not aware the state ranks fourth nationally in tomato shipments, and 6th nationally in potato, apple and snap bean volume.

Moving to the Northwest, Washington state cherry shipments are in heavy volume.  Loadings should continue until September and the state is on a course for record shipments.

In California, rates have had only minor fluctuations since early June.  The Salinas Valley has lighter than usual volume with broccoli and cauliflower, plus lettuce shipments have been hampered as East Coast receivers took advantage of coastal shipping areas such as New Jersey, which started weeks earlier than normal.  This put Eastern lettuce shipments on a collision coarse with West Coast lettuce shipments.  Eastern receivers could save $7 to $8 per carton on lettuce, just on shipping costs, when they purchased eastern lettuce as opposed to that product from California.

Salinas Valley vegetables – grossing about $8500 to New York City




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Eastern Produce Loads are Providing Mixed Bag

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Produce shipments on the East Coast are a mixed bag this year and some areas are shipping more normal volumes, with other areas doing less.

Shipments of New Jersey blueberries, along with vegetables continue to be loaded in normal volumes.  Jersey peach loadings are ramping up and should be in peak volume soon, continuing through July.

Further south in the Mid-Altantic area, sometimes referred to as the Eastern Shore, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia are shipping a variety of vegetables, with more coming into play as we enter July.   This area, however, has struggled over the years, as it tries to provide shipments during a gap between states to the south of it, and  New Jersey to the north, which in theory is supposed to begin shipments when Delaware, Maryland and Virgina are finishing.

However, it’s a gamble every year and if the southern states are late coming in, or Jersey is early, the the Mid-Atlantic states tend to face poor markets, and fewer loading opportunities for produce haulers.  As a result this area does not have as many shippers as it used to.

Meanwhile, there are fewer Georgia vegetables, Vidalia onions and peaches this year due to weather factors, although the vegetables were easily hit the hardest of the three.

Vidalia, Georgia onions – grossing about $3200 to New York City.

New Jersey blueberries – about $1800 to Boston.


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Washington State Apple Loadings Expected to be Brisk

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As more information becomes available on the prospects for the nation’s apple shipments, which get underway in August for the 2012-13 shipping season, it’s becoming apparent there should be record setting loading opportunities for apple haulers out of Washington state.

The reasons are two-fold.  First, Washington is on course to pick, pack and ship 120 million boxes of apples in the upcoming season, which would be nearly 7 million more boxes than the season which will close in the coming weeks.  Secondly, an April freeze clobbered upcoming crops in Michigan, parts of New York state and in Ontario.  This means apple buyers who normally source the fruit from these areas will be relying on Washington state more than ever.  In a normal year, Washington state accounts for about 60 percent of the USA’s apple shipments.

Apple volume is expected to remain more normal for the upcoming season from the Mid Atlantic states, including Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virgina, as well as from the New England states.  This holds true as well for New York’s Hudson and Champlian valleys.  However, central and western New York apple shippers were not near as lucky during the April freeze.

Washington state apples – grossing about $6200 to Orlando.

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