Posts Tagged “Keeping It Fresh”

Where Is My Load? The Rise and Requirement of End-to-End Tracking

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By Jake Diana ALC San Francisco

The vast majority of individuals, both here in the U.S. and worldwide, have come to expect the seemingly guaranteed step-by-step updates that large distributors provide with each and every order submitted. So much so that it often feels like the end of the world when we don’t have that fresh “out for delivery” update on the day of projected receipt. In a world where everyone prefers to be as up-to-date as possible, it makes perfect sense that logistics and trucking companies would be required to provide tracking, right?

One of the biggest hot button topics in freight today is the exponential growth of thefts and scams. Given the integration and volume of texting and email into all walks of life, the evolution of 3PL carrier relationships is in a natural progression. While a general understanding of so-called “instant” communication would lead one to believe this makes the jobs of 3PL employees easier, the reality is that we are often faced with the scary question of “Where is my truck, and who is actually operating it?”

These days, tracking is no longer the eye-catching benefit it once was. Instead, it is now the standard, a bare minimum expectation when it comes to the growth of a 3PL customer relationship. The ability to go above and beyond tracking mandates is just as important as competitive rates or long-standing relationships. Prior to the last two to three years, carriers viewed tracking as bothersome, a form of micromanagement that signaled distrust. In just a short time, carriers are now not only familiar with tracking, but expect it. In a field full of uncertainties, what was once a selling point has rapidly developed into a pillar of the industry.


Jake Diana graduated from the University of Oregon in 2020 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in General Social Sciences. He joined the ALC San Francisco office in August 2022 as a broker’s assistant before being promoted to carrier sales representative and, most recently, carrier sales manager. Jake is a high-energy individual with a passion for competition, teamwork, and tech.

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Road Tripping Across the Great USA

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By Nora Trueblood ALC Marcon

“Road trip,” “Shotgun” are some popular sayings for the non-truckers on the road. Summer is here and the uptick in travelers on the road increases, as provided by Headlight News:

With more folks on the road for summer vacations traveling by car, motorhome, or other means, commercial vehicles must be aware of more drivers who can clog the various “truck” routes. As a transportation broker, we see the effects that traffic, construction, and events can have on a driver’s ability to deliver freight in a timely manner. Whether you are a long-haul driver or a family heading out on a summer vacation, everyone is affected by the conditions of our roadways. This goes especially for holidays, and with the 4th of July upon us, here are a few hints, favorite road trips, and, just for extra fun, the best fireworks displays.

According to Headlight News, this year’s projected number of travelers for the holiday period represents a 5.2% increase compared to 2023 and an 8.8% increase over 2019.

“With summer vacations in full swing and the flexibility of remote work, more Americans are taking extended trips around Independence Day,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel. “We anticipate this July 4th week will be the busiest ever with an additional 5.7 million people traveling compared to 2019.”  

To better plan your trip (if you are not the truck driver who knows the best routes), here are a couple of the most popular routes or cities being traveled to over the holiday and their fireworks plans for 2024:

Los Angeles to New York City

  • Top destination
  • From Los Angeles – route via I-80 vs. I-40 (from personal experience, I-80 from Glenwood Springs to Denver, CO, is absolutely gorgeous). This is the primary artery, so both commercial truck drivers and personal vehicles will experience the same conditions.
  • The number one viewed fireworks show, in person and televised, is sponsored by Macy’s. The city of New York is giving away 10,000 free tickets this year, so maybe you stay home in New York, or at least plan to arrive there by Wednesday, July 3rd.

Washington D.C. to Los Angeles

  • Los Angeles is a top destination year-round, but not the highest-rated city for fireworks. So, if you decide to stay home or do not have a load to keep you on the road this 4th of July, you can see far better public displays in Washington D.C.’s Fireworks on the Mall and other great rooftop locations.

Some less than large cities, that are not necessarily traveled by big rigs, but offer spectacular fireworks displays:

Bristol, Rhode Island

Cape Cod, MassachusettsFirst state to make the 4th of July a state holiday. Their celebrations and fireworks begin June 28th, and displays continue through the 4th.

Best tips for personal vehicles to practice when sharing the road and traveling alongside big rigs.

Just in case you need some ideas, here are the most popular summer vacation road trips.

Following best practices while sharing the roads across America will help you get to where you want to be, safely. The best tip: leave early, adhere to speed limits, and get to your final destination without an incident. Then, watch those wonderful fireworks that celebrate this great country.


Nora Trueblood began her career with ALC in 2002 as Director of Marketing & Communications. Prior to joining the company, Trueblood worked as the event manager with the Montrose Arts Council and Alpine Dance in Montrose, CO., had her own production and event planning company, and spent 7 years with Lorimar Television.

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When Trucking Became Deregulated

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By Bill Martin,

I had just been hired by a fresh produce publication in the fall of 1974, and by far, the biggest controversy in the trucking industry was Congress looking to deregulate trucking (and other transportation modes). No one at the newspaper, including myself, knew anything about trucking, much less the profound effects deregulation would have. It was known that most agricultural commodities were exempt from the regulations, but most produce hauls also required a regulated haul on the return trip. I immediately began reading all I could about the subject and tapping into the knowledge of those in the industry. Fortunately, I attended the United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association’s trucking division meeting at a hotel near the Kansas City International Airport. It was there that I met Allen Lund of the Allen Lund Company. A friendship quickly developed, and I had someone who was much respected in the industry, intelligent, always made himself available, and had a heart of gold. I can honestly say I’ve never met a better man in my life and I continue to benefit from having known him. Even though Mr. Lund is no longer with us, his values remain steadfast in the Allen Lund Company today. 

I became the primary writer on transportation issues and had covered it extensively when Congress passed the Motor Carrier Act of 1980. Some of the major accomplishments of deregulation was ending legalized rate fixing by the large trucking companies, and ending their protected regular routes. Rate wars slashed freight rates, and small trucking companies and owner-operators could negotiate directly with shippers instead of having to lease to a carrier. Deregulation allowed contract rate-making with the regulatory review and opened the door for truck brokers to more efficiently provide match-ups between the demand for transport services and the availability of carriers.

The passage of the Motor Carrier Act of 1980 revolutionized the trucking industry, leading to the emergence and growth of third-party logistics (3PL) providers. This shift benefited the American public by reducing transportation costs, lowering consumer prices, and improving service quality. Over the years, the 3PL industry has evolved into a sophisticated sector integral to global supply chains, leveraging advanced technologies to optimize operations. The legacy of early industry leaders, such as Allen Lund, continues to inspire innovation and excellence, demonstrating the enduring benefits of deregulation for the economy and consumers alike.


Bill Martin earned a journalism degree from Oklahoma State University and served as a journalist in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War. He worked as a reporter for a daily newspaper before writing about transportation and fresh produce for a weekly publication. Combining his expertise, he launched the Produce Trucker’s Network, which aired for 20 years on 60 radio stations across the U.S. and Canada. He retired in 2014, but created in 2012, which continues today. September 3, 2024, marks his 50th anniversary in long haul trucking and fresh produce.

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Analytics Matter for the Future of Logistics Companies

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By Michael Patrick ALC Corp.

When thinking about the future of logistics, especially 3rd Party Logistics, I always stop and consider how analytics plays a role. Well, truth be told, they play a very large and important role in the success of the organization. Analytics help to mitigate risk, direct the need for forecasting accuracy, and drive cost efficiencies. At the end of the day all these things are important, but the biggest reason logistics companies use analytics is to meet ever-evolving customer expectations, underscoring the customer-centric approach of these companies. 

Forecasting is a really hot topic in the logistics industry. Different types of organizations use all kinds of forecasting. Manufacturers use demand forecasts to set production schedules and manage inbound raw materials. This helps with routing guides and warehousing. “Through data analytics, logistics companies can identify and mitigate potential risks in the supply chain, such as disruption, delays and quality issues.” There is also a need for volume forecasts for RFPs (Request for Pricing) and pricing decisions. It seems like everyone in logistics wants some type of pricing forecast. Suppliers want forecast pricing to gauge budget levels, truckers want forecast pricing to help with asset placement, and third-party companies want forecast pricing to respond to RFPs and help indicate potential earning numbers.

With the increase in fraud in the logistics industry it is more important than ever to be on your toes when it comes to mitigating risk. Criminals are growing daily and are getting increasingly bold in their thirst to create havoc in the industry. They are using email addresses that closely resemble real company emails, cell phones that cannot be tracked, and teammates on the inside of suppliers to steal goods from warehouses and even steal entire trailers. When these trailers are found, they are empty, and the items are gone. They are targeting not just valuables like electronics but also loads of vacuum cleaners and clothing. These items are easily sold on the second-hand market. Analytics can be used to identify and utilize carriers with the appropriate level of insurance and vendors with good ratings.

Customers, suppliers, and logistics organizations will continue to rely on analytics to improve efficiencies, grow profits, and create forecasting to meet customers’ ever-changing expectations. With the transportation industry being a moving target, investing in in-house analytics is a great solution to streamline data and adapt to market trends.


Michael Patrick started with the Allen Lund Company in January 2018 as a senior business analyst. He has over 25 years of third-party logistics and supply chain management experience. Patrick has a B.S. in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing from Winthrop University and a Masters in Business Administration from The Citadel.

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Balancing Emissions and Economics

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By Makenna Christensen ALC Logistics

California’s requirements for zero-energy fleets may be on hold, but the push to electrify the transportation industry is far from over. In March, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released new emission standards, outlining limits on carbon dioxide emissions that become increasingly stringent each year from 2027 to 2032. While these regulations are well-intentioned, forcing carriers to comply with unreasonable standards will have impacts far beyond the transportation industry. 

As of April 2023, there were over 750,000 active motor carriers in the U.S., 95.8% of whom operate 10 or fewer trucks. These small businesses are the backbone of our economy. Without them, store shelves would be empty and we would struggle to find food to put on our tables. Look no further than the 2021 global supply chain crisis to see what happens when shipping demand outpaces truck supply. Like every other business, trucking companies must minimize costs to maximize profitability. When the annual cost of operating battery-electric big rigs is about twice as expensive as diesel trucks, the transition to zero-emission fleets becomes fiscally impossible for some companies. Add-on government mandates, like those in California, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Battery-electric is not the only zero-emission fuel source. Some long-haul drivers have turned to hydrogen fuel as an alternative since it allows them to travel lighter, farther, and faster. However, a lack of fueling infrastructure and large costs associated with ownership are serious barriers to adoption. 

Beyond the immediate impacts, the shift to zero-emission trucks will have financial repercussions on millions of consumers. According to a March 2024 study, “The charging infrastructure for a nationwide fleet of 100% electric trucks – from delivery trucks to big rigs – will cost $622 billion.” Further analysis suggests the additional cost will be passed along to consumers, adding approximately 0.5% to 1% to overall inflation. For a nation already waist deep in debt, I’m not sure we can handle that burden. 

The goal to cut carbon emissions is desirable, but forcing small businesses into bankruptcy gets us nowhere. If legislators want to enable lasting change, they need to slow down and focus on smaller, more economically sound solutions to our climate crisis. Compressed natural gas (CNG) has been found to reduce tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions by about 20% and could be a welcome alternative to diesel since it is widely available and affordable. Further, the adoption of diesel-electric and gasoline-electric hybrid trucks could help the transition to zero-emissions fleets without bringing our supply chain and economy to a halt. We may not currently know all the answers, but when we empower small businesses to take action we can do just about anything.


Makenna Christensen graduated from Marquette University in 2022 with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing and Human Resources. In July 2022, she began working as a Software Sales Coordinator for ALC Logistics, the software division of the Allen Lund Company. She joined the Fresh Produce & Floral Council’s Apprentice program in April 2024.

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The Most Dangerous Lane

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By Iyer Amruthur ALC San Antonio

Cargo theft in the transportation industry is a long-standing, but rapidly growing issue. One of the most frequent occurrences of cargo theft is during the trade between the U.S. and Mexico. Statistics show up to 49 truckers are assaulted in some fashion in Mexico each day. Other harrowing data shows that at least 50 drivers were killed in 2023 alone.

Starting on February 5, 2024, thousands of drivers from 15 of the largest carrier organizations set out on strike. The goal of the organizers was to seek more patrols from Mexico’s National Guard on roads with a high incidence of theft, more stringent penalties against cargo thieves, and increased support for the families of truckers affected. They ultimately sought to secure common roads and travel for all law-abiding parties, while cracking down on illegal activity.

Another strike penned for August by truck drivers belonging to the Mexican Alliance of Carrier Organizations (Asociación Mexicana de Organizaciones de Transportistas A.C. – AMOTAC) and others was postponed through promises the federal authorities made to increase roadway security measures. This included agreements reached by AMOTAC and authorities, including Mexico’s National Guard, to hold monthly meetings with trucking officials to create enhanced safety measures to combat cargo theft. 

However, despite the effort, crime continues to rise. Cargo theft cases increased 4% year over year in 2023 to 9,181 incidents, including 7,862 cases that involved violence. Members of AMOTAC and other trucking organizations held demonstrations on the Mexico-Queretaro federal highway (one of the largest U.S.-Mexico highways for commercial transport) to protest road insecurities.

With tech developments and the continued pressure from multiple parties to secure transit between the U.S. and Mexico, we all hope to see progress and attempts to reduce crime, keep our drivers safe, and get product from point A to point B.


Iyer Amruthur is a national sales manager in the ALC San Antonio office and has been with the company for three years. He attended The University of Georgia where he obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing, with a minor in Communications.

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AI and Logistics

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By Josh Rivera, ALC St. Louis

Everyday, we hear more and more about how AI is being implemented in all sorts of industries across the globe. There is a need to automate certain processes in all aspects of business to increase efficiency, especially in the logistics industry. Though we are in the early stages of adopting AI and learning where it can provide the most benefit, we are already seeing some of this technology in warehouse automation and robotics and the early stages of driverless vehicles. AI can assist in data collection and analytics to provide real-time information. 

In Bart De Muynck’ Forbes article The True Role of AI in Logistics, he states, “AI is being used to improve data quality, generate data through Generative AI when real data is not available and provide valuable insights through predictions (like an ETA or dwell times) or forecasts (available capacity of assets or at ports). By implementing real-time visibility, companies can share information, updates, and forecasts with suppliers, customers, and partners.” We know AI can offer much but, just like everything else, it’s not perfect. Transportation is and will remain a human central function, but paired with AI technology can propel the industry forward. The key is for companies to stop looking in the past, and use this information to help predict and adjust for the future.  

Even in the early stages, AI is demonstrating its value in the logistics industry. As time progresses, its capabilities will only improve. It’s only a matter of time before we witness its widespread adoption. AI’s limitless potential is a compelling prospect for every industry, including logistics, in managing and optimizing their supply chains.


Josh Rivera studied at Western Illinois University where he received a BA in Marketing. Josh has been working in the ALC St. Louis office for six years as a transportation broker. Out of the office, he is a musician who enjoys playing the drums and ukulele. He has two dogs, Bella and Louie, who love to play and keep him busy.

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Tumultuous Times in the Job Market

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By Matt Barnes ALC Human Resources

The impact of the 2020 pandemic on the job market reverberates to this day. In 2024, global conflicts, supply chain disruptions, the double-edged sword of technological advances, and remote/hybrid opportunities amplify the sensation that recruiting and retention are more challenging than ever in this ever-changing, roller-coaster landscape. How do companies cope?

In 2021, as resignations surged and companies faced critical labor shortages, impacted employers responded with raises, signing bonuses, and perks to boost employee wellness. This created short-term peaks in starting salary ranges that trickled beyond the most affected industries. As a result, Americans quit 6.1 million fewer jobs in 2023 compared to the previous year, a 12% decrease, and 353,000 jobs were added in January 2024. The unemployment rate stayed at 3.7%, just above a half-century low. These numbers point to a strengthening economy, but just when the data indicates stabilization, the media is reporting mass layoffs at major companies, with predictions of more to come, plus smaller pay increases and hiring slowdowns in certain sectors as large organizations struggle to scale up with the “new normal.” The annual turnover rate for the transportation industry consistently hovers around 50%. This speaks to the volatility of the job market, meaning the “job-hopping” trend doesn’t look to end soon as employees frightened by potential layoffs look for opportunities to secure a more reliable future.  

Hiring and retaining good employees has never been an easy task. This is all the more so during turbulent social, political, or economic times.  Lucky for ALC, all of those factors are in play in 2024.  

Wait, did I say “lucky”?

That’s right. And I’ll double down on it.  

In his book, “The Obstacle is The Way,” NY Times bestselling author, Ryan Holiday writes, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. Things that we had postponed for too long, that were long-term, are now immediate and must be dealt with. Crisis provides the opportunity for us to do things that you could not do before… In fact, half of the companies in the Fortune 500 were started during a bear market or recession.”

To quote former Intel CEO, Andy Grove, on what happens to businesses in tumultuous times: “Bad companies are destroyed by crisis. Good companies survive them. Great companies are improved by them.”  

The companies with the biggest advantage in such a climate have great benefits, culture, and proven stability resulting from sound financial practices, expansion, and opportunities for internal career growth. A quick check of ALC’s recent internal communications (celebrating 20 and 25 year anniversaries, advertising new positions and growth opportunities) and a look at the Managers’ Meeting agenda tells the story of a company perfectly positioned to seize the advantage of a job market in flux and provide opportunities to job seekers on the hunt for long term security.  


Matt Barnes has worked in HR, Recruiting, and Personnel Development for 27 years across multiple industries including Manufacturing, Engineering, Healthcare, and Transportation. Matt was hired by ALC in 2022, and promoted to Sr. Director of Human Resources the following year. A graduate of the University of Wyoming, and a native of Tennessee, Matt has used his diverse background and experiences to develop expertise in domestic and international talent acquisition, team building, labor law, employee relations, conflict resolution, and organizational design.

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California’s Post-Flood Recovery and Refrigerated Truck Projections

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By Isabella Silva, ALC Marketing Coordinator

Recent storms in California have significantly impacted agricultural operations. However, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is ready with technical and financial assistance to aid farmers and livestock producers in recovering from these adverse weather events. California’s agricultural sector has demonstrated remarkable resilience, supported by infrastructure enhancements, crop diversification, government assistance programs, and ongoing research and innovation efforts. It’s fascinating to note that California was in a severe drought just three years ago, highlighting the striking contrast in weather patterns. Nevertheless, both extremes resulted in similar agricultural shifts, noting the industry’s adaptability. This article explores the sector’s recovery from floods and projects California’s demand for refrigerated trucks. 

According to the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, investments in infrastructure, such as levees and irrigation systems, have played a crucial role in mitigating flood damage and protecting agricultural lands. Farmers in California have implemented crop diversification strategies by planting flood-tolerant varieties to minimize losses. Partnering with Full Belly Farm in Yolo County, California, the USDA California Climate Hub conducted an extensive case study emphasizing adaptation planning practices as opportunities to alleviate the impacts of extreme weather conditions. Their focus on building soil organic matter not only improves crop fertility, but also increases soil water retention and holding capacity. Ongoing research endeavors aim to develop flood-resistant crop varieties and innovative farming techniques, further enhancing the industry’s resilience against future flood events. As government-sponsored insurance and assistance programs offer crucial financial support to farmers, it’s important to see how this reflects the transportation industry. 

DAT reported citrus, almonds, avocado, and strawberry crops are expected to be impacted and have already contributed to 84% fewer truckloads of produce compared to this time last year. However, there’s still ample time for the 2024 produce season to regain its momentum, even with the national produce volumes down 17% from last year. With more resources, solutions, and research each year, California is continually improving its ability to address flooding challenges. This suggests a potential increase in the demand for refrigerated trucks in California’s agricultural supply chain, a positive sign for the industry’s recovery.


Isabella Silva graduated from St. Edward’s University in 2022 with a BA in Communication, complemented by minors in Psychology and Health Communication. In July of the same year, she began her career at the Allen Lund Company in the Marketing department. Isabella is set to start her MS in Public Relations Innovation, Strategy, and Management at the University of Southern California in May.

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Adaptability is the Key to Success

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By Fernando Dominguez ALC San Francisco

The Transportation industry is more than just getting products from point A to point B. There are myriad factors to consider, from the product itself and the agricultural regulations it abides by to the equipment utilized and the laws that govern it. Most importantly, but arguably the most overlooked factor in this industry, are the laws, rules, and regulations that create the foundation under which many products are cultivated. Being part of a national transportation brokerage and working in the San Francisco office, whose main niche is in produce, we are consistently watchful for changes in regulations and shifts in the market. They have the potential to affect both the customers we conduct business with and the carrier companies that relentlessly move product from coast to coast. I am part of a team that must shift and pivot in an industry full of change, but with change comes bountiful opportunities.

There have been numerous occasions where changes in agriculture and consumer spending have led customers and carriers to adjust their daily procedures to keep up with demand. Most recently, the USDA Announced Temporary Suspension of the Continuance Referendum Requirement for California Raisins. This has the potential to change how much grapes are moved throughout the country. Subsequently, other produce products grown in California will be impacted, as this action amends a marketing order affecting growers and handlers of grapes (of whom presently, there are approximately 18 handlers of raisins subject to regulation under the Order and approximately 2,000 raisin producers in the regulated area). Keeping track of regulatory changes is extremely important because they enable multiple entities to regulate the cultivation and distribution processes. Additionally, it’s crucial to understand the financial effects of these changes. Any time there is a change of this magnitude in the transportation industry, it has the potential to change customer buying projections, bids on specific lanes, and carrier shifts in certain geographical regions. It even changes the compliance that drivers must adhere to when loading at specific shippers. 

I take pride in contributing to an industry that ensures Americans have access to high-quality goods and efficient resource distribution. Our direct involvement in this dynamic system allows us to continuously sharpen our skills and thrive amidst challenges. These challenges foster team cohesion and offer unparalleled opportunities for career growth. The next time I go to the grocery store and see a display of grapes or raisins, I will know that many people and businesses made a tremendous effort to cultivate, supply, and distribute them even through changing regulations. At ALC, we’re committed to upholding our core values of integrity, dependability, service, honesty, and family while meeting the evolving needs of our industry.


Fernando Dominguez graduated from California State University Chico in 2020. He served as an embarkation logistics specialist in the United States Marine Corps Reserve as a sergeant, while beginning his career at the Allen Lund Company as a transportation broker in training. He was promoted to transportation broker after eight months and subsequently to carrier manager after a year and a half at the ALC San Francisco office.

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