At Trailer Bridge we believe logistics is personal, and when it comes to moving produce and agriculture products, it’s very personal for our Nashville Branch Manager Justin Myatt. As the son of an 8th generation farmer, Justin knows the hard work, blood, sweat and tears that goes into growing and distributing agricultural products including produce.
That’s where his career in logistics began, on the farm, and today, he helps produce shippers and other food and beverage distributors move their product from source to store shelves. He’s spent the past ten years learning the intricacies that go into reliably moving this time-sensitive product, and his experience and expertise has earned the trust of both big-box retailers and small family-owned brands.
You can meet Justin and others from Trailer Bridge at the Global Produce & Floral Show happening this week in Orlando, Florida. But first, check out Justin’s insights around a few of the topics on tap at the show.
Disruption in the Supply Chain
If there’s one thing you can count on in today’s market, it’s disruption in the supply chain. From labor shortages to equipment availability, the challenges keep coming as we enter the holiday season and prepare for 2023.
There are really 3 big factors impacting the market right now according to Justin:
- Labor shortages
“This is an issue companies around the country are facing. For produce, we’re seeing it throughout the product’s journey, from farm to warehouse and then in the final mile to the store,” said Myatt. “Farmers are finding it difficult to get the hands needed to pick and prepare the produce while warehouse managers are facing staffing difficulties to handle the distribution process.”
- Mother Nature’s Impacts
Late crops, drought-like conditions in the West and a major hurricane in Florida are all creating a ripple effect on the market. The availability of produce is not only impacting what’s on store shelves but also the assembly and availability of pre-packaged options. “One specific example with this, a smaller than expected lettuce crop is impacting pre-packaged salads for a brand we work with,” said Myatt. “Less salads equal less loads available for carriers.”
- Pricing: Spot Freight vs. Contract Freight
Everyone is feeling the strains of today’s pricing woes; from the highest highs to calls for doom and gloom in Q1 of 2023. Major food and beverage brands who would normally lean on their contract pricing for all lanes, are now placing 25-35% of their freight on the spot market, something Myatt says is unusual.
With major fluctuations in price from day-to-day, the spot market is the most cost-effective way to move freight. The days of long-term contracts are gone making way for the rise of a more regular conversation about rates between shippers and their partners. “This is where relationships really matter,” said Myatt. “You have to be willing to work together with your customer and have the frank conversation about price.”
Consumer Trends Shifting the Industry
With a decade in the industry, Justin has seen consumer trends shift through the freight he’s moved. He says today’s market is evidence of the consumer’s focus on health-conscious eating. Here are a few of the products he’s seen an uptick in the past few years:
- Organic produce and the demand for high-quality and even exotic fruits and veggies.
- The rise of almonds as consumers lean to almond milk as a dairy alternative.
- Prepackaged options like bagged salads or veggie mixes.
- And last but certainly not least, plant-based meats.
No matter the trends or the disruptions, there is one constant when it comes to the logistics behind produce and food and beverage cargo: reliability matters. This fragile cargo requires special care to ensure it arrives at its peak freshness and a logistics partner who cares.
Stop by Trailer Bridge’s Booth 1052 at the Global Produce & Floral Show to talk with the team about these topics and learn how TB can be your full-service supply chain partner.
For more information, you can reach out to Justin Myatt at firstname.lastname@example.org