How Any Shipper Can Minimize the Seasonal Impact of the Fresh Produce Industry

Understanding the seasonality of the shipping industry helps prevent unwelcome surprises throughout the year that can impact the supply chain of any business. The unique nature of shipping fresh produce creates a peak season 12-months of the year that moves from state to state. Depending on weather conditions, perishability and consumer demand, the ripple-effect of produce season can be far-reaching. 

Shippers whose business has nothing to do with fresh produce can find themselves dealing with limited capacity. Getting fresh produce to market becomes a time-sensitive priority, creating a surge in demand for trucks, especially reefers (refrigerated). Carriers gravitate towards areas of the country where produce needs hauling. Rates become higher as their trailers are in demand. This shift pulls capacity away from regions they commonly serve, inadvertently leaving other shippers scrambling for trucks. 

Historical data from Cass Information Systems, a leader in business intelligence services, reveals this trend with a consistent uptick in "per-mile truckload linehaul rates" beginning in May. 

Cass Truckload Linehaul Index

Shippers can combat this seasonal shift in supply and demand with these 5 tips: 

  1. Work with a logistics provider that can offer dynamic or seasonal pricing to secure potential cost savings annually with reliable, year-round capacity. 
  2. Actively look for ways to make your business more carrier-friendly. Start with the suggestions found here
  3. Research current fresh produce harvest schedules
  4. Consider intermodal as an option for additional capacity. 
  5. Reefer trailers can be an alternative to dry vans, if the freight weight allows, with lanes that ship to produce regions. This option can increase capacity and be a more cost-efficient solution.

Rely on the largest privately held freight brokerage firm that has extensive experience working with fresh produce and how it affects the market. Request a freight quote or contact TQL at 1-800-580-3101 and let us keep your freight moving as it should, no matter what the season.

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