Touch the Soil News #904 (Feature photo –- CCA SA 4.0 International)
News pieces have surfaced frequently the last few years about the tightening market for truck drivers. The DAT Company reports that at the end of 2017, there were over 12 loads waiting to be shipped for every truck available. According to DAT, truck rates were at $2.11 per mile at the end of 2015. The rate increased to $2.33 per mile at the end of 2016 and up to $2.46 per mile at the end of 2017. These rate increases translate into a 17 percent increase over the past two years.
Refrigerated trucks make up a larger percentage of the roughly 2 million semi-rigs on the road today. A trucker shortage could result in spot shortages of fresh fruits and vegetables in grocery stores.
Of particular impact to the food sector is the financial practice of just-in-time inventories. This means that fresh produce arrives just in time for it to be sold. The combination of a trucker shortage with just-in-time inventory practices can quickly translate into a thin pipeline for fresh produce. How reliable is the food chain?