‘Tis the Season – For Produce

produce shipping seasonThere are certain seasons that cause dread among many; winter and tax season are two that come to mind. But those of us in the transportation industry tend to grow anxious at the beginning of another season – produce season.

It’s not that we don’t love fresh fruits and veggies as much as everyone else, (my seven-year-old daughter being a notable exception) – we do! But, hauling tons of quick-to-spoil produce can put a lot of stress on trucking capacity. Every year, shipments that are completely standard for the other nine months of the year can become much more challenging during produce season.

The large, time-sensitive produce hauls pay top dollar, which can be very tempting for truck drivers. There’s not much incentive to stay on your typical route when a few months of fruit and veggie hauling can pay a fat bonus! This, in turn, causes frustration for brokers when their typical drivers take a few months off to hit the fruit farms. At Matchmaker, we build strong relationships with our carriers to ensure their year-long commitment and reduce the risk of losing our best drivers to the lure of strawberries and lettuce.

We even help clients haul a bit of produce ourselves – a responsibility we take seriously. Whether its HAZMAT materials, sensitive technology-based machines, or ripe, delicious blueberries, we understand the importance of getting products to their final destination on time and in perfect condition. We’re not the only ones who take our produce seriously: check out this grocery store produce section. It’s nothing short of art:

produce shipping seasonproduce shipping seasonNot all produce seasons are the same. There are some years when freight is so heavy, sourcing a truck is tantamount to finding a needle in a haystack. So far, this year has not felt that tight (although we still have several weeks to go!). In our industry, there are lots of moving parts (literally and figuratively). You have to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. For instance, you probably heard about the huge produce shipment that went wrong last year:

A trucker carrying tons of watermelons and cantaloupes lost the entire load when he collided with a truck full of broccoli. Don’t worry, everyone was safe. But the drivers, the brokers, and the shippers were pretty worked up over the lost produce. It made them melon-coli.

Sorry, I couldn’t resist! What about you – what’s your take on produce season? Do you dread it or look forward to it? How is the season progressing for you? Do you have any strategies that help make produce season peachy? I’d love to know.

Go bananas this weekend,