Kenny Lund, vice president of operations for Allen Lund Company in La Canada, near Los Angeles, believes the transportation landscape is stabilizing and improving.
Not only are most drivers now accustomed to ELDs, but the 150-mile agricultural exemption is helping too.
“Finally,” he says, “we’re at a time that’s a little bit calmer.”
Lund also believes the treatment of truckers is getting better on the docks. “There’s nothing like a capacity shortage to drive that home.”
Debra Sanford, vice president of sales, pricing, and temperature control at Radiant Clipper in Woodridge, IL, agrees, but says there are trouble spots—facilities where drivers can be forced to wait up to eight hours to load or unload—impacting hours of service and ELDs.
“It’s not to the point where shippers have a real sense of urgency about it, but our driver pool will refuse to go to [certain facilities]. With the growing amount of freight and the shortages in capacity, there will be more issues with drivers not wanting to pick up or deliver.”
Lund is well aware of timing issues, which is why Allen Lund Company came up with its own dock-scheduling software called Alchemy, a transportation management suite designed to provide more flexibility, visibility, and control to drivers and shippers as well as receivers.
“It gives them predictability in an unpredictable world, and produce is more unpredictable than anything else,” he says.
Thanks to rising costs and the capacity crunch, there was also an increase in intermodal shipping in 2018, though produce represents just a sliver of this activity.
Sanford says produce shippers are “looking at intermodal as a definite option if they can’t find drivers.”
Despite the inherent challenges with rail shipping of perishables, she confirms, “People are definitely more open to it.”