Preparing for produce: What to expect for TL shipping.

July 31, 2019

Produce season typically runs from April till June – which is a crucial time for the truckload shipping industry – but it is important to learn how it can affect your business year-round. Properly preparing for and handling the aftermath of the growing capacity demand in the southern region, and rising costs that produce season brings with it, is not a small task. However, as the demand for carriers far outweighs the supply, strategies are continually evolving to counter this imbalance.

Below, we explain how you can overcome the challenges that produce season brings and how to deal with its lasting effects. Shipping TL freight when trucks are displaced and fluctuations in regional demand can make operating ordinarily tricky, but an effective strategy will help carry positive momentum throughout the year.


Differences in regional demand during produce season and beyond.

Preparing for produce season requires foresight into the capacity challenges that will arise. The industry typically faces a lull in demand following the big holiday push. Once temperatures start to rise, produce starts hitting the pavement and the number of loads increase.

Produce shippers will pay a premium for expedited, consistent service and carriers can afford to be selective when choosing which shipments to transport because of the high demand. Naturally, the number of trucks in other major markets will decrease, because they are all rushing down south to take advantage of the new opportunities.

The regional disparities in supply and demand manifest quickly once produce season gets going. It’s reasonable to expect freight volumes to rise while demand increases in the south, and capacity will tighten across other regions that aren’t as fruitful.

Not only does the pure volume of crops increase during warmer months, but this cargo is time-sensitive. Shipping produce requires a consistent, expedited strategy — demand for transportation rises while available capacity shrinks.


How can you minimize the impact of increasing costs?

Full truckload shipping rates rely on a variety of different factors, and seasonality is one of them. The anticipated costs aren’t static, and the free market drives fluctuations. Rates will shift depending on supply and demand within the market, but these shifts aren’t easy to anticipate.

During produce season, the market becomes more volatile, and your margin for error tightens. Finding capacity becomes a challenge, and prices rise as a result.

At Freightquote by C.H. Robinson, we believe that minimizing the spikes in TL shipping rates require advanced insights and forward thinking. Here are a few ideas for how you can better prepare for the increasing costs:


Forecast demand For TL shipping services.

To anticipate rising costs, you need to do a fair amount of research into what opportunities exist and where you will find the most value. In this case, demand will likely outweigh supply and shippers need to have their options in line.

If you do the necessary work, forecasting demand will lead to accurate volume forecasts that eliminate any potential confusion. Rate contracts are another option for establishing a price that may turn out to be below what the market dictates. By anticipating a spike in demand and agreeing to a contract with a freight service provider, you insulate yourself against any spikes in TL shipping costs.


Optimize shipping strategies.

Forecasting the demand for TL shipping is the first step to finding the best rates, and avoiding any spikes. However, shipping TL freight the way you want requires an understanding of the best way to get your cargo to its final destination. By optimizing your strategy, and communicating your requirements to carriers, you can efficiently and effectively move your freight even when there is an imbalance in supply and demand.

When peak produce season hits, the demand for specialized shipping like temperature-controlled shipping hits a yearly-high. Shipping fruits and vegetables can be a complicated process, and any mistakes can be costly. That’s why you need to find the best carrier, with the best rate, who will give you all the details on your shipment.


Improve your understanding of harvest schedules.

Beyond shipping, you will need to expand your knowledge on the produce industry to take advantage of the rise in demand without succumbing to price spikes. Understanding harvest schedules, seasonality and weather forecasts in the southern region will guide your shipping strategy.

Doing your research and being proactive will help you counter rising prices. You can ensure that when produce season is over and done with, you aren’t left in the dust.



Overcoming regional and seasonal TL shipping challenges.

No matter what time of year, there is always time for you to maximize your shipping efforts and save money in the process. The challenges you face when shipping produce are unique because of the regional and seasonal factors, but it has a widespread impact on the rest of the industry as well.

Demand pushes trucks to the south, and an imbalance develops in other regions. By forecasting the demand for TL shipping, looking into harvest schedules and optimizing your preferred strategies, you can avoid price spikes.

Freightquote offers powerful, self-service tools that will help make rising rates during produce season less impactful while the market is shifting and adjusting to the imbalance in supply and demand. Managing the risk of rising full truckload shipping rates might be intimidating, but we can help simplify the process.

If you are interested in taking that next step, start a quote today and learn how Freightquote’s technology and experience with the world’s largest shippers can help revamp your strategy.

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