Things to Keep in Mind this Produce Season
Produce season is upon us once again. If you run refrigerated trucks, you can expect to be busy from Easter through Fourth of July. At least traditionally this has always been the case. This produce season things might be a little different due to the impact of weather and recent regulatory changes. Here are few things to keep in mind before you hit the road this produce season.
Let’s start with the drought in the Central Valley of California. The drought may affect the transitions of growing areas. Melons, corn, and broccoli are likely to see the most significant reduction in crop. Commodity shifts from Yuma, AZ to Salinas, CA may move quicker than expected due to the lack of water in the central growing regions.
It is too early to tell if the freeze in the Southeast will have a huge impact on other crops. However, this freeze appears to have caused a surge in the Texas Valley. We have seen an increase in products coming from Mexico. Historically the peak season does not start until mid-April, but we have already seen an early increase in volume.
We can’t forget about the hours of service (HOS) and CARB regulations. We all know that the HOS change has been in effect since July 1, 2013 but this is the first produce season with the new HOS in place. The new HOS will change the flexibility that carriers had in the past when hauling produce. Even though the different CARB regulations have been in place for a number of years, it appears that CARB and the transportation industry has been doing a better job reaching out to carriers regarding awareness of the regulations and carriers’ compliance is increasing.
Plan accordingly this produce season. Look at the areas where you would normally run and see if the weather has had an impact on the crops. Keep in mind things could be a little different this year. We would love to hear how owner-operators and trucking companies are planning for the upcoming produce season. Please leave a comment in the comment section below.