How to Manage Fresh Produce Logistics and Shipping

Proper produce logistics requires a strong, well-connected supply chain. Compared to other freight, produce is extremely fragile. One small error in the temperature or humidity could result in an entire truckload of goods lost. Because of this, produce shipping is done with extreme planning and established processes.

There are many steps involved in ensuring that produce remains fresh in shipping. Many take place before a truck ever arrives to pick up the freight. Then, there are the shipping processes themselves which could happen multiple times depending on where the produce is going. And finally, there’s the post process, taking a look and finding areas of improvement for future shipments.

1 – Preparing the produce logistics process

In order to assure produce stays fresh, there are multiple steps that must be made before the actual shipping happens. First, you have to have your own shipping in place or you’ll need to partner with a carrier or 3PL. There are many things to look out for when choosing a shipping partner. The main factors you need to look for is their experience in your industry, technology available, open communication, and quality.

Next, is relaying all the necessary information to that shipping provider. Things like required temperature range, acceptable humidity levels, and dates and times. Fortunately, produce follows a pretty strict calendar so you’ll have plenty of time to get everything set up and have the trucks ready to go.

Once you have a trusted partner to handle the actual produce shipping you are ready to prepare the product to be shipped. All produce is going to ship differently, some go on trays, some in crates, and others in bags. Just make sure this is communicated to the driver beforehand so they know what to expect and have the right equipment.

Produce Logistics in action on local farm

2 – Managing the produce shipment

With the truck there, and the produce packed and ready, the next step is loading the freight. However, you first want to have someone check the trailer and make sure it is in good condition. As stated before, produce logistics is very fragile. Every trailer should be completely clean with no leaks or holes.

Now, with all the produce loaded up, it is time to ship! I guess you’re done, right? Well, no, you want to keep up to date on the shipment. Make sure that everything goes smoothly and ensure that everything arrives in one piece. Having a quality transportation provider can be greatly beneficial in this step. A good partner will be able to provide live tracking so that you can monitor the current temperature of the trailer as well as see exactly where it is.

Last in the shipping process is the unloading of the product which is typically done by the consignee or whoever is receiving the shipment. From here, the produce may go through several more stops and quality is vital on each one. Making sure that the supply chain is strong and efficient is vital for proper farm to fork shipping.

3 – Post Shipment Process

After the shipment is complete the only thing left to do is evaluate. Check to make sure everything went okay and find improvements for the next shipment, whether that be today or in the next harvest. Some important key performance indicators to monitor are the pick-up and drop-off times, damaged or spoiled products, and fulfillment percentage.

If you are in the process of looking for a transportation provider for your produce logistics and shipping, then Becker Logistics is right for you. We have 25 years of shipping experience with a focus on food shipping. We also have the team and technology that will allow you to know where your freight is at all times. If you are interested in partnering with us, reach out and contact us. Additionally, you can request a quote and get started today.

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