Then there are all the changes in technology and the infrastructure needs that have had an impact on the overall efficiency of the market. But executive administrative director Myra Gordon has been relentless in pursuing alternatives and options, securing a $22 million grant to upgrade the terminal’s rail tracks and trying to find ways to maximize usable space to avoid a move south to New Jersey.
Kazan has been on the market for four decades, and has a few thoughts on the recent changes and needs of Hunts Point’s merchants. He notes that the acquisition of the Morris Okun units by S. Katzman Produce—a large and significant acquisition that continued a trend towards consolidation at the market into a handful of large firms—was the most meaningful development of the year.
We asked a few Hunts Point Produce Terminal Market merchants if 2016 has lived up to their expectations.
Business has been a bit flat for us this year, but we’re hopeful. All the standard indicators have been level, and we hope that if next year continues to have good weather and stable fuel prices—and the election is settled, whoever wins—that business will come back and we’ll be in good shape.
E. Armata, Inc.
We continue to have a strong market-based business and are developing our distribution and sales to serve customers inside and outside of the Hunts Point market. We have developed a full line of items to appeal to all of our customers.
Fres Co LLC
This year has been another good year for us: we expanded our business beyond our expected 25 percent rate, and for a company that’s relatively new to the market, we consider that a success. We’re hoping to match it next year and focus on expanding our trucking business.
S. Katzman Produce, Inc.
Between years of experience and teamwork, we managed to get the job done! The Hunts Point market feeds millions every day; we had our trials and tribulations in 2016 just like anyone else, but the amount of fruit and produce that goes through here feeds America, and it’s like no other market in the world.
Target Interstate Systems Inc.
This year has posed challenges for growth due primarily to weather, fuel prices, and the economy. El Niño had a real impact; with volume and rates down, our top and bottom lines did not meet our projections.
Thanks to growth in our offices and personnel, we were able to mitigate these effects, but what should have been a great year is turning out to be only marginally higher than 2015. The bright side to the business is that we had a banner year in our general freight business, which we expect to pick up even more.
A Lack of Maneuverability
To put things in perspective, Kazan explains that in 1967 when Hunts Point opened at its current location, there were over 100 merchants doing business on the market; by 2015, it was down nearly 60 percent with only 10 firms doing the majority of the business. “The challenges the market faces are not new,” he asserts, “just operating inside this space is a challenge for the merchants and truckers alike.”