Snow storms exacerbate shipping problems - The Packer

Snow storms exacerbate shipping problems

03/10/2014 03:23:00 PM
Melissa Shipman

Unfortunately, in some cases, the trucking frustration is even impacting prices and promotions.
“We haven’t been able to promote on many ads due to the transportation problems we’ve been having. You can’t put something on ad and then not be able to get the supplies there,” Dolan said.

In addition, Dolan said the trucking shortage has caused the B-sized market to drop in price.

“With the low truck supply, you’re not able to ship the steady supply of Bs that you’d like to so they get backed up in the warehouse. Buyers realize this and know you need to move them so when you do get a truck, you’re more at the mercy of the buyer,” Dolan said.

Relief in sight?

Suppliers are hopeful the trucking issues will be relieved as springs hits.

Ehrlich also hopes the future will bring some relief in this area, perhaps in part thanks to an organization called the Coalition for Transportation Productivity.

“They’re trying to increase the weight limit for trucks. If you can add another axle and put on more weight, you can haul more and get by with less trucks since we already have a shortage,” Ehrlich said.

Of course, the light at the end of the transportation tunnel isn’t quite visible yet.

“There’s a study mandated to determine whether it’s safe of not and the results are coming in now so we’ll know soon if they approve it,” he said.

Ehrlich said the practice is already considered safe in Europe.

Growers are turning to rail transportation more and more. Some have upped their rail shipments to adjust for truck shortages in an attempt to avoid delays and supply gaps.

“Some shippers have been able to maintain normal shipping levels by utilizing more rail shipments,” Wahlen said.
However, winter weather can cause delays for rail traffic as well.

“Both trucks and rail shipments can get delayed up to a week in a bad Midwest winter storm,” Pemsler said.

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