January 4, 2018

  Market Notes
January 4, 2018

KEEP ON TRUCKIN’

I do not think Jerry, Bob, Phil and Robert had any idea how difficult it would be to keep on trucking. If you have not heard there is a new regulation in town called ELD. As of December 18, 2017 The Electronic Logging Device became a mandatory attachment to truck engines manufactured after 2000 and travel over 150 miles from their base. The ELD will replace manual logs and this will wreak havoc on the transportation industry resulting in pricing like we have never seen before. There are local and agricultural exemptions, but as it applies to over the road perishable trucking and coastal LTL’s this is a nightmare waiting to happen.

First is actual cost. The transfer from the log to the ELD is going to shut down many independent truckers. This, in fact has already happened. Some estimate the reduction in drivers could be as high as 20%. With fewer independents the big boys can line their pockets (read seriously raise prices) and, if they are so inclined, pay their drivers more. This will significantly reduce the competition and raise prices of transportation significantly and permanently. These increased costs will be difficult to absorb without passing it onto the customer. Expect prices to go up.

Then there is the time on the road. A local “just in time” delivery company we use had to roll over 2 deliveries to the following day because the truck ran out of time and risked being shut down. Let’s take a second and review that. The use of the ELD allows a server somewhere in the federal government will automatically shut down the vehicle after guiding it to the nearest truck stop or just pullover on the side of the road. Depending on the logged hours and mandatory rests it could now take days to get cross country. It is not clear how this works with teams, maintenance and 6 hours waits to get loaded and unloaded. Some shippers have told us that depending on how you time it, loading a train is going to be quicker to get cross country. We also anticipate and increase in air freight. (Just a side not, Culinary is adept at both.) We are going to have to get used to goods arriving later and costing more.

Finally there is the non-linear unknown. What if there simply are not enough drivers or trucks to fill the need? What happens when driverless trucks become prevalent? Will they have hours? How well will long distance perishable produce survive through the food chain with extended delivery times? How will this contribute to food safety and foodborne illness? Will this bring local to the forefront? We can speculate till the fields go dormant, but one thing we can be sure of. Everything is going to go up. So, while the Dead sing “What A Long, Strange Trip Its Been”, we are more focused on BTO’s “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet”

NEW PRODUCE QUIZ – – WHAT AM I??

You began by calling me a turnip mutant while I was actually a cross between a member of the cabbage family and the turnip family. It is believed that I first appeared in Hungary sometime in the 17th century and I do not think Alex Haley would argue. Then I saved your lives in Europe during World War II, being a prime source of nutrition when food supplies were scarce and what do I get? Insults!! Today you have all but ignored me. In Northern Europe I am used as fodder for cattle. URGGHH!! This is the thanks I get. Longer and rounder than a turnip I am usually yellow but some of my cousins are white. Truth be known, I have more of a kick than a lil’ ol’ turnip that you think is all that. I even have a more distinguished look wearing a top hat where my leaves form. Stick that in your turnip and mash it. Eaten raw or cooked I am now and forever will be more interesting than the turnip. I can be used in soups, stews, pureed, or added to mashed potatoes. If you find me too strong I can be easily mellowed out with a 5 minute blanch before cooking. I am an excellent source of potassium and a good source of Vitamin C. I am also a good diuretic and great for breaking windows.

Answer To 12-14-2017 Quiz:…APPLE…Congrats To All Winners

Call 908-789-4700 –Lisa or Richard– Fax 908-789-4702
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Culinary Specialty Produce, Inc., 2015

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