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Big Apple Bustle

Picks, packs, and perks of the Hunts Point terminal market
Big Apple

Shipping & The Internet: A New Marketplace
In the past, brokers largely controlled price, and wholesalers were able to shop around for better freight rates. Today, the internet is providing a new level of transparency that’s creating price parity across logistics providers.

“All the truckers are wired into the Internet and are posting their loads,” Kazan comments. “Other carriers can check posted rates very quickly, and this becomes the new benchmark for the market rate. Truckers are negotiating prices based on what others are getting paid—they can see the supply and demand, and this is making rates a little higher as well.”

Kazan explains that many industries use the same trucks. For example, both Florida and California ship other perishables and need refrigerated trailers. “When we see the demand and price go up, it becomes high for all commodities, including produce. Produce wholesalers tend to use the spot market, and have to pay the current market rates.”

With increasing prices and demand, Kazan expects to see carriers adding rigs to the road. Among Target Interstate’s newer tools, customers can use a company app to track the location of their loads in real time on Google maps, and use another app to see loads not even booked with the broker.

To Rebuild or Not to Rebuild
Going on a decade of discussions and negotiations, Hunts Point continues to face the same dilemma: outdated facilities and infrastructure, traffic and safety challenges, limited space and not enough cold storage.

The 100-plus acre facility, which resides inside the greater Hunts Point Food Distribution Center, is part of a sprawling 329-acre complex that is also home to the Fulton Fish Market and the Hunts Point Cooperative Market.

A few years ago, a bid from New Jersey for the market stimulated renewed dialogue between New York City and market managers, but the initiative lost steam with a funding stalemate, and a transitioning City administration. Part of the pressure concerned the end of Hunts Point’s lease, which was recently renewed for seven years with the possibility of further extensions in the future. So, while the need for change—rebuild or relocation—remains necessary, no concrete plans are being developed currently.

Stay or Go?
“Personally, I would like the market to stay where it is,” remarked Hunt. “What everyone really wants is a good cold chain and controlled environment. If they could keep it on site, that might be more middle of the road, like a revitalization, but that doesn’t address the fundamental structural problems, such as the gas, electrical, and sewer lines that are some 40 years old.”