Produce season is here. Whether you run a refrigerated truck as an owner-operator or are a fleet manager with multiple trucks, you are on the verge of some very busy months. Last year, several events impacted the season. While the drought situation remains the same this year, there are a couple more things that will likely influence your produce loads.
West Coast Ports. Since late 2014, ports on the East and Gulf Coasts and in Canada have been seeing a surge of shipments rerouted from the West Coast in an effort to avoid the congestion caused by slowdowns and ongoing contract negotiations between International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and Pacific Maritime Association (PMA). For produce carriers, this can mean freight opportunities are diminishing on the West Coast, as well as potential pockets of surge demand at other port locations.
GPS and Temperature Tracking. Maintaining the cold chain requires planning and communication through every step of the journey. As with the rest of the transportation industry, technology plays a large role in temperature controlled shipping, and it’s changing rapidly. I wouldn’t be surprised if, in the near future, we have the ability to regulate the temperature of refrigerated equipment from our mobile devices. In the meantime, carriers have options like GPS tracking technology and real-time temperature monitoring platforms available to ensure timely deliveries of produce that is kept at the correct temperature, from origin to destination.
California Drought. With no relief forecasted, it has been reported that the 500,000 acres of highly productive farmland that was left unplanted in 2014 could grow by as much as 40% this year. For farm workers and others whose economic security is tied to California’s farms, water supply restrictions could mean lost jobs and family stress. Inevitably, the drought will have an effect on carriers hauling fresh produce this season, given the ongoing impact the drought has had on farming and overall production.
Which factors will impact your business? We would love to hear how you are planning for the season.
Disclaimer: This blog originally ran April 15, 2015 on The Road.