The cost of inflation never seems to keep up with the average American’s annual raise. While there are some areas of household budgets that can easily be adjusted to counteract inflation, food is a necessity. In order to eat a well-balanced diet, we must have access to affordable fresh fruits and vegetables. However, the cost of produce sometimes makes this a challenge for hard-working Americans. Here’s more about the effect on prices in the absence of effective transport system.

Over Half Of Our Fruit Is Imported

As of 2016 over half of the fruit sold in the United States is imported and one-third of vegetables. The majority of this produce comes from our neighboring countries of Canada and Mexico and nearby South America but comes from as all over the world. The farther it comes from the more complicated the logistics. This leaves supply chains trying to minimize the number of carriers required, not just to keep shipping costs down—but to ensure produce arrives while it is still fresh. While an impressive diversity of global fruits and veggies is available in the U.S. some produce is so fragile that it can’t be shipped, such as the acai berry from the rainforests of Belize and Brazil.

Getting To A Hub Is The Easy Part

Getting to the major U.S. food hubs is the easiest part of shipping produce internationally. Where things get tricky, is getting produce to the more remote corners of the country. This is when food costs begin to rise. Every plane, ship, and small and large trucking company needs to turn a profit in the transportation process. But costs continue to rise once at the hub. The hub must distribute to the local and nationwide grocers and restaurants. The restaurants and grocers also must turn a profit. This means you have the farmer, all the supply chain partners, and the end retailer who need to turn a profit. When you think of it this way, it’s not a surprise that produce isn’t always affordable.

The Most Direct Route Isn’t always Possible

In a perfect world all routes would be direct with no backtracking. For this to occur there will need to be more trucks on the road transporting produce to distribution centers. Inevitably, drivers will surpass smaller transportation centers on their way to larger distribution centers. Also, some produce will arrive on the opposite end of the country, meaning that a pear imported from Asia may cost less on the east coast than on the west coast. The less direct the route the greater percentage of product loss. This is due to both the additional time it takes for produce to reach its final destination and the increased risk for temperature control issues.

Driver Shortages Further Increase Costs

It’s easy to assume that the fluctuating seasonal and progressively rising fuel costs are a major contributing factor to rising produce costs, and without a doubt they are. However, fuel isn’t the only trickle-down expense that increases costs—but also the nationwide driver shortages. The fact of the matter is that there may not be enough drivers available to take the most efficient routes. This leads many companies to increase their wages to make a career in trucking more attractive, or to entice truckers to switch companies. Salaries are quite attractive, but the end consumer pays the price difference.

How Produce Transportation Brokers Can Help

As you can see the effect on prices in the absences of effective transportation system is has many moving parts, which is where a product transportation broker can assist. Many warehouses and distribution centers have experienced the logistic nightmare of working with the wrong transportation companies. While they don’t want to make the same mistake twice, most simply don’t know how to vet their potential carriers properly. This leads to days, weeks and months of time interviewing and testing carriers. In fact, it can be a full-time job. A produce transportation broker eliminates this process. They have a list of reputable carriers, and an in-depth process for vetting new carriers. For example, do the transportation carriers they vet understand the need for specialty cargo insurance that covers high-risk produce? And which carries have a positive track record for transporting high-risk produce, such as fresh berries?

A broker will all but eliminate the logistics risk of choosing a carrier who simply doesn’t understand how produce needs to be handled. They set up appointment for pickups and deliveries and communication with both dispatchers and drivers to ensure the process stays on track.

End consumers can keep produce costs low by purchasing what is in season, buying from local farmers markets, and planting their own gardens. However, the average American will still need to purchase a substantial amount of their produce from their local grocers which is why transportation logistics must be designed to ensure quality produce is affordable.

How the Absence of Effective Transport System Affects the Prices of Produce on The Market? was last modified: by