Growing Demand for Produce Causes Capacity Crunch

Every year, refrigerated truckload capacity tightens when produce freight from Florida and Texas is transported throughout the Southeast, Southwest and beyond. Despite the heavy toll COVID-19 has had on the economy and many industries (including freight) — the produce season is creating a capacity crunch yet again.

We’re well aware of the turmoil that’s engulfed much of our industry since late March when spot market load posts dropped by nearly 40% — and carriers were suddenly scrambling to find loads. But we also saw signs of hope that certain freight in some markets remained viable and strong.

Most of us anxiously waited to see the impact of the annual produce season in our region. Throughout the Southeast and Southwest, trucks have begun to transport massive amounts of produce, rapidly nearing 2019 levels.

Normalcy and consistency can be incredibly calming in times like this. But, that sense of calm quickly dissipated as the annual dose of chaos battling access to capacity soon followed.

We’re seeing reefer prices begin to climb. As a result, you may be facing many of the persistent issues experienced during produce season — including escalating costs, reduced access to refrigerated truckload capacity, less-than-ideal customer service and inconsistent results — from trucking and logistics partners struggling to keep pace with the glut of temperature-controlled truckload produce.

But you’re not shipping produce, so why should you be negatively affected?

Don’t worry. There’s help available, maybe more help than ever before. Many trucking firms and supply chain companies have trucks available to handle your next freight shipment quickly at a fair market price. Some of your best partners may offer dedicated capacity for valued customers. After all, we all know the produce season is going to end eventually. But none of us knows for certain what the industry will look like when it does.

We’re living in times of uncertainty when it’s even more critical to lean on trusted partners and relationships to get through the toughest ordeals. While it’s good to see trucks full of produce moving down our region’s highways — we’re excited for the days when trucks full of other types of freight are following close behind.

It’s time to reach out to your most valued partners to ensure you get favorable rates and service.

 

Drake Reinke, National Account Sales