Produce Season

How to Ship Produce Successfully During Peak Season

Spring is here and that means produce season is in full swing, lasting until the end of summer (followed by the northern harvest). Produce season is a busy and challenging time for shippers and carriers, as they have to deal with high demand, tight capacity, complex regulations, and perishable products. In this blog post, we will share some tips and best practices on how to ship produce successfully during peak season, and how we at John S. James Co. can help you with our comprehensive and customized solutions.

Understand the Regional Harvests

Different produce crops have different harvest times and locations, which affect the availability and pricing of produce shipments. For example, Vidalia onions are only grown in South Georgia and have a pack date of April 17. Other produce, such as strawberries, tomatoes, and peppers, are grown in Florida and Mexico and shipped earlier in the year. Knowing the regional harvests can help you plan ahead and secure the best rates and routes for your produce shipments.

Manage the Capacity Challenges

As produce shippers compete for available capacity, especially reefers, rates tend to increase in and out of produce regions. This can create supply and demand imbalances across the country, as carriers reposition their fleets to take advantage of higher-paying loads. To manage the capacity challenges, you need to book your shipments early, communicate clearly with your carriers, and be flexible with your pickup and delivery times. You can also consider alternative modes of transportation, such as intermodal or air freight, to reduce costs and transit times.

Comply with the Customs and Regulations

Produce shippers and carriers need to comply with various regulations and requirements, such as the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA), and the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT). These can affect the speed, cost, and quality of produce shipments, especially across borders. To comply with the customs and regulations, you need to prepare the proper documentation, such as invoices, certificates, and permits, and ensure that your carriers are certified and authorized to transport produce. You also need to monitor and report any issues or violations that may occur during the shipment process.

Maintain the Quality and Freshness

Produce is highly perishable and sensitive to temperature, humidity, and handling. Shippers and carriers need to ensure that produce is properly packed, loaded, transported, and delivered to maintain its quality and freshness. Any delays, damages, or losses can result in claims and disputes. To maintain the quality and freshness, you need to use the appropriate packaging materials, such as crates, boxes, or bags, and label them clearly with the product name, origin, and destination. You also need to use the correct temperature settings, ventilation, and insulation for your reefers, and monitor them throughout the shipment. You also need to inspect your produce before and after the shipment, and document any issues or discrepancies.

How John S. James Co. Can Help You

As a U.S. Customs Broker and Freight Forwarder, we at John S. James Co. are ready to help you during produce season with our expertise and experience. We can handle all your produce shipping needs, from customs clearance and documentation, to freight forwarding and transportation, to warehousing and distribution. We have a network of reliable and reputable carriers, who can provide you with the best rates and service for your produce shipments. We also have a team of professionals, who can assist you with any questions or issues that may arise during the shipment process. We can also offer you value-added services, such as cargo insurance, tracking and tracing, and inventory management, to enhance your produce shipping experience.

We hope you found this blog post helpful and informative. If you have any feedback, suggestions, requests or questions, please let us know in the contact form section below. Thank you for choosing John S. James Co. as your produce shipping partner. We look forward to working with you soon.

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