Best trucking practices for fresh produce supply chain were unveiled in mid-January by the North American Produce Transportation Working Group.

The group’s website provides documents that detail industry best practices for fresh produce shippers, receivers and carriers, according to a news release.

The 25-member group has been working on the best practices document for about two years, said Dan Vache, vice president for supply chain management for the United Fresh Produce Association, Washington, D.C. He said the working group’s effort was driven by a desire to create the best resources available for truck drivers.

In addition to offering a comprehensive master document for free access, the group’s website has one-page summary documents that address best practices for shippers, carriers and receivers, Vache said.

“We want to eventually have Web seminars and keep this more of a live document with updates,” Vache said.

Vache said the group also aims to develop best practices for shipping by rail, air shipments, for intermodal and ocean containers.

“We’re going to keep this moving forward to help with the transport of our product,” he said.

Groups that supported and endorsed the best practices document included the Canadian Produce Marketing Association, the Produce Marketing Association, Western Growers, the United Fresh Produce Marketing Association and other regional produce associations.

The best practices in the document also were reviewed and endorsed by Canada’s Dispute Resolution Corp., Vache said.

“The new guidelines represent an incredible volume of work by industry associations and produce organizations involved in the transport of fresh produce,” David Dever, president and chief executive officer of Bakersfield. Calif.-based Sun World International and chairman of the United Fresh working group, said in a news release. “We all know how crucial ensuring the vitality of our carrier industry is to the long-term viability of the North American produce industry, and this is one tool to support that.”

Best practices will help insure that all parts of the supply chain are valued, industry leaders said..

“If we don’t all play our part in assisting carriers and making produce a desirable industry to do business in, we could face shortages of carriers in the future,” David Owen, president of National Association of Small Trucking Cos., said in the release.