It’s that time of year again. February officially kicks off produce season, with the first influx of produce imports already rolling in from Mexico. Peak produce season for freight carriers won’t hit until March, but the transportation industry needs to begin preparing for the surge of demand that comes during this time. Freight volumes increase by as much as 30% during peak season, which greatly impacts capacity and rates.
Study Harvest Schedules
Thankfully, these days it is relatively easy for carriers to keep on top of when certain produce is harvested. There are many industry websites that inform carriers which regions are heating up at which times. Carriers need to stay current so that they can manage capacity for these regions.
Target the Right Areas
Produce season slowly moves up North America from February to July. Mexico kicks off the season in February, with southern states such as Texas and Florida following in March and April. In addition to knowing harvest schedules, it’s also important for carriers to know where to position their assets to best meet demand.
Prepare for Longer Border Crossing
Now that the USMCA trade deal has officially been ratified, trade between Mexico, the U.S. and Canada should become a lot smoother. Carriers should still prepare for long wait times, especially at the U.S.-Mexico border during produce season. Southern ports such as Laredo are hit especially hard by the influx of volume so cross-border truck drivers can expect to be held up at the border.
Adjust All Shipping Rates
Produce season puts a huge strain on refrigerated trucks, or reefers. Reefers are in high demand during produce season, and shippers pay premium rates to secure them. This tight capacity sets the tone for other modes as well. Dry cargo freight, rail freight, and LTL freight all usually see rates increases.
Invest in Technology
Technology is playing an increasingly important role in the transportation and logistics industry. Investing in technology is even more important during peak times, such as produce season. By adopting the latest technology and software, carriers can more accurately predict freight volumes, adjust rates, manage contracts and invoices, and track freight.
If you want to learn how you can leverage our expertise and TRAFFIX can help you this produce season, contact us today.