Shipping During Produce Season: Here’s What You Should Know

Here’s your annual reminder: from April to July, warmer temperatures gradually creep across the U.S. and the transportation world gets rocked by produce season. Many people don’t realize that even if you aren’t in the produce business, this can still affect your supply chain. Not sure exactly what this means for shipping your freight? Let’s go over the facts so you can be prepared.

What does produce season do to truckload capacity?

From early spring to summer, crop harvest volumes are at an all-time high across the nation. More crops means more produce that needs to get to market, and thus, more trucks needed on the road. With trucks in higher demand, especially on the southern East Coast, capacity gets tight every year around this time.

Since produce is time-sensitive, and farms are usually in close quarters with each other, trucks can be especially hard to come by within specific, small geographical areas and within particular timeframes. The proximity of your pickup and drop-off locations to these areas can really have a big impact on the availability of trucks for your loads. This can also mean higher shipping rates are required to secure these highly sought after trucks.

Produce is almost always shipped on reefer (refrigerated) trucks, and since there’s a lot of freight needing to be moved, this especially cuts down on available refrigerated equipment during produce season. Unfortunately, since this type of commodity is so time-sensitive, intermodal or other alternative modes of transportation aren’t very popular options. This means capacity will be even tighter if your freight requires refrigerated equipment.

In summary: during produce season, peak volumes of fruits and vegetables are ready to be shipped to grocers around the country, demand for trucks gets higher, capacity gets tighter, and shipping rates may go up.

How can working with a 3PL, like Trinity Logistics, help me during produce season?

Whether you ship produce or not, working with a non-asset based shipping company like a 3PL can provide you with access to thousands of carriers available to ship your freight. Trinity works with a network of over 30,000 vetted carriers. The larger the network of carriers, the more likely a truck can be found that’s ready and willing to move your freight. Working with a multi-modal company can also provide you with other shipping options, like intermodal, if truckload capacity becomes an issue and there are acceptable alternatives for the commodity you’re shipping.

Trinity Logistics is also a member of the Produce Marketing Association (PMA). This means that educated sales reps familiar with the produce industry are arranging the shipment of your time-sensitive and high-value produce. Our common practices include asking carriers to check the pulp (internal) temperature of the produce to check if it’s warm before loading, providing daily tracking updates, and encouraging remote temperature readings from carriers.

We have over 200 actively shipping customers in the produce industry. If you’d like a to request a shipping quote, or simply have a question about the upcoming produce season and how it might affect you, call 866-603-5679 or click here