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New transportation tools and tips

Choptank Transport, Inc. BB #:168125 in Preston, MD is a third-party logistics broker that moves 150,000 loads per year. Geoff Turner, president of the company, says, “Our business is in the perishable space where we’ve been able to provide seamless visibility for our shippers, especially the smaller ones.

“Our branded software, Orbit TI (transportation intelligence), communicates when a load is picked up, its location en route, and when it will arrive. A lot of produce is hauled by small carriers and we provide visibility not always available to them.

“The benefit of our software,” Turner says, “is that it gives the customer one place where they can see and track their freight, while it calculates cost per mile and per pound as an extension of their transportation department.

“They don’t have to make the capital investment and we can tweak the platform for individual customer priorities,” he adds. “Because produce is so seasonal, many shippers don’t see the value of this investment—that’s why many shippers are outsourcing to third-party logistics providers. There are long-term maintenance and licensing costs for multiple users. Our customers find value in outsourcing.”

Sandoval Trucking, LLC, BB #:166654 in Kerman, CA utilizes Samsara global positioning system or GPS devices. Managing member Jesus Sandoval says, “We can see drivers’ hours of service, know the location of the truck instantly, calculate when it arrives, and receive instant updates—all without even talking to the driver.

“There’s a tracking program for the trailer that reads temperature and fuel,” Sandoval says. “The system tracks in real time and knowing the exact location of trucks helps growers calculate production.”

Marshall Kipp, president and CEO of Advanced Transportation Services or ATS, BB #:120506 a freight contractor in Visalia, CA, is also a fan of GPS tools and Samsara. “We’ve installed GPS using technology that monitors the temperature of the trailers in transit as well as the exact longitude and latitude location.

“Our custom programs can integrate with the top five tracking manufacturers—Thermo King and Carrier are built into many of our carriers’ trailers,” Kipp says. “For those not equipped with these systems, we can install a Samsara aftermarket product—more than half our trailers are equipped with this.

“Customers can simply log into their computers to track loads. There’s minimal training,” Kipp adds, and stresses, “We provide customers with systems the way they want it, not the way we think they should have it.”

Kipp says another benefit of partner fleets, or having a linked network of trailers, is priority status in loading, which results in more synchronized timing for pickups and delivery to warehouses. As for the costs associated with these programs, “The systems are so efficient and represent such savings, it just makes sense to do it.”

This is a multi-part feature adapted from the Transportation and Logistics supplement to the July/August 2020 issue of Produce Blueprints.