(March 26, 11:47 a.m.) With business booming in its Winter Haven, Fla. office, Los Angeles-based Westlake Produce Co. decided to take some of its shipping logistics into its own hands.

Westlake launched a company, Fresh Line Transportation, on Oct. 20. The subsidiary not only will haul a majority of fresh produce packed by Westlake, but will operate independently and be available to any other company seeking logistics solutions for any product.

“We’ll haul probably 90% of Westlake products,” said Durb Pearson, general manager for Fresh Line, which also is located in Winter Haven. “But we’re also a broker for other companies.”

Pearson, who has 35 years experience in shipping, said the company will service primarily east of the Mississippi River, but also has routes running from North Dakota through Nebraska.

“Theoretically, you could say (we provide service to) the lower 48 states, because we also help service Westlake out of Los Angeles,” Pearson said. “That’ll be our role for Westlake as well as any other grower-shipper looking for a value-driven logistics coordination. We’ll be able to handle pick up and delivery throughout the country in general and the Southeast in particular.”

Wayne Giddings, managing partner of Westlake’s Winter Haven office, said in a news release that he thinks Fresh Line is in a unique position to match load requirements with available resources.

“Pearson’s knowledge of the business and the region will put many suppliers on an equal footing with their larger competitors,” Giddings said in the release.

Pearson said all has gone well thus far.

“We’ve met our expectations, even in tough times,” he said. “And, we’re planning on growing because we’re looking to hire people.”

Westlake Produce launches transportation company
Westlake Produce's Fresh Line Transportation subsidiary plans to haul about 90% of Westlake's own products, but will also be a broker for other companies, says Fresh Line general manager Durb Pearson.

Courtesy Westlake Produce Co.