As the weather continues to heat up, produce season kicks into full gear. During spring months and into summer, capacity tightens up, rates increase and docks get full. Many shippers who move produce experience complexities in their supply chains as the race to get crops out of the fields and onto store shelves begins.
The Impact of Produce Season
Produce season in the U.S. generally begins in late February and runs into August. During this time, significant amounts of fruits and vegetables are shipped to grocery retailers, wholesalers, manufacturers and other vendors throughout the country. In addition, retailers and foodservice distributors plan for holidays and back-to-school demand.
According to DAT Freight and Analytics, typical spot activity during produce season elevates nearly 30 percent, which impacts other modes that ship out of similar regions lifting rates across all business. This creates a significant opportunity for carriers to support shippers across the country with many more shipments on the road.
So far, in 2021, we’ve seen many things, most of which are far from typical. Demand for transportation continues to rise while available capacity is limited at best. On top of that, the urgency to get products to store shelves moving highly perishable items remains critical. Forecasting and capacity planning are great ways to help control cost while ensuring product gets to store shelves on time.
Advice to Shippers
Shippers should plan for demand with an asset-based 3PL such as Werner. Proper planning allows for additional lead time and accurate volume projections, which are critical to managing tender acceptance and costs. In addition, peak pricing is another good way to hedge against the volatile rates that occur during this time of year and can help stabilize transportation budgets while minimizing reliance on the spot market.
With the latest technology, market knowledge, visibility and a team of experts, a 3PL can help shippers navigate through produce season. Utilizing a variety of modes can also be an advantage to shippers during produce season, and a 3PL can have those connections and resources.
Whatever your needs may be, Werner Logistics can help get your shipments delivered. We’ve created a network of carriers that are reliable and responsible to ensure your product gets received on time and in good condition. Due to our strong carrier relationships, from owner-operators to larger fleets, we can be flexible and scalable with equipment when you need it and where you need it.