Food on the Move

Logistics trends in our industry.


Cargohopper Addresses Niche Transport Needs

Many Old World towns and cities throughout Europe, while charming for their narrow, cobblestone streets, are a headache for modern-day delivery trucks and vans. The Dutch city of Utrecht is one example. Busy shops and restaurants require constant servicing, but standard trucks not only have a tough time navigating the streets, they’re a nuisance to local residents.

A transportation company called Cargohopper has designed a solution that is gaining favor in Utrecht and getting noticed elsewhere throughout the continent. First, Cargohopper consolidates Utrecht-bound shipments at a DC outside the city, then they’re placed on a 52-foot, solar powered caravan that’s barely bigger than a golf cart, or a small-sized trailer. It’s estimated that the service saves 5,200 gallons of diesel and 33 tons of CO2 annually compared to regular delivery trucks.

 

Higher Food Prices Blamed for Spike in Meat Thefts

Drought conditions across the U.S. and its effect on food prices are being blamed for a spike in thefts of meat, including beef, pork and chicken. According to FreightWatch, meat thefts started their spike in 2011, climbing from an average of 1.75 thefts per month in 2010 to four per month in 2011.

So far this year, meat thefts are averaging about 3.2 per month, but the busiest months are in the final quarter.

Most meat thefts tend to occur where cargo volumes are high in general, such as Southern California, South Florida, Houston and Atlanta. However, the Corn Belt, and Iowa in particular, has experienced a disproportionate amount of meat thefts compared to other goods.

Given that drought conditions in the U.S. are the worst they’ve been since 1956, and with corn prices continuing to rise, it’s likely that meat thefts will do the same.

 

Driver Shortage: From Bad to Worse

The American Trucking Associations’ (ATA) recent analysis of the driver shortage in the trucking sector finds that the situation will likely become more profound over the long term. Although the current shortage is already severe, it’s limited primarily to the truckload business. But, LTL and private fleets are expected to feel the impact more in the coming years.

According to the ATA’s “Trucker Driver Shortage Update” released in November, the current driver shortage is approximately 20,000 to 25,000 in the for-hire truckload market and it is expected to increase to 239,000 by 2022. Changes to the hours-of-service (HOS) rule in 2013 will also affect the driver shortage and likely reduce productivity by 3 percent. Consequently, carriers will have to add more trucks and drivers to haul the same amount of freight, further aggravating the shortage.

“Carriers and fleet executives have begun expressing concern about their ability to identify and hire qualified professional drivers,” says ATA’s chief economist Bob Costello. “And with this report, we tried to identify where the impacts were being felt the most, why the shortage is increasingly worrisome and why it has the potential to get worse.” He added that, “On average, trucking will need to recruit nearly 100,000 new drivers every year to keep up with demand for drivers with nearly two-thirds of the need coming from industry growth and retirements.”

 

FSMA’s Foreign Supplier Verification Program Rolls Out in January

The latest requirement from the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) will become effective in January 2013. Specifically, the FSMA will require importers to implement a foreign supplier verification program to guarantee all imported food is supplied in agreement with U.S. food safety regulations.

Verification could include lot-by-lot certification, periodic onsite inspections, review of a facility’s HACCP (Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points) plan, and/or sampling and testing of shipments.

Food imports will be denied customs clearance if the U.S. importer does not have a foreign supplier verification program.

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