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Early winter storm challenges trucking in Southeastern U.S.

Following an unusual and surprising winter storm over the weekend, growers and produce handlers and others in the Southeastern U.S. say it could have been worse.

After dumping anywhere from several inches to even a foot or two of snow in the region late Saturday night to throughout Sunday, people such as Wes Summer of Carolina Fresh Sales LLC in Raleigh, NC say moving produce was a challenge the next day.

“It was the typical stuff—trucks were shut down and had to pull over or couldn’t run or they couldn’t get out of the yard or because their drivers could not get to their yard to pick up the trucks,” says Summer, who also owns Freedom Freight & Logistics, a transportation and third-party logistics company. “It slowed everything down for a couple of days and trucks couldn’t deliver.”

Storm affects on clients
At the same time, Summer notes that not all clients were open to receive goods either. “Some of our folks didn’t open up either because the snow impacted them in such a way that they couldn’t receive trucks or had to receive them on a delayed basis,” he adds.

All told, it led to a minor back up in moving product. “With customers, when you can’t ship to their stores, restaurants or schools for a day and a half, then your product backs up and your orders slow down,” he says. “And when you reorder like they did today or will tomorrow, instead of getting a full load, they’ll get a ¾ or half load because they didn’t ship for two days. They don’t need as much product because it’s sitting in the warehouse.”

West Coast travel challenges
Meanwhile Summer, who moves product in from California, Idaho and Arizona, says that while it was challenging to get trucks through neighboring states, particularly Tennessee and North Carolina, they did make it through.

Over at Bailey Farms Inc. in Oxford, NC, Randy Bailey agrees that the storm was significant and early for the area. And he too noted subsequent trucking challenges.

“Our business impacts were mostly getting trucks out of the storm area on Saturday before it hit to minimize the effects on our customers who were not in the storm’s path,” says Bailey. “Then on Monday we had to operate on a skeleton crew to process orders and pack because as we all know ‘produce never stops.’”

He also added that there were no harvest impacts from the storm.

For more information:
Wes Summer
Carolina Fresh Sales LLC
Tel: +1 (919) 349-8163

Randy Bailey
Bailey Farms
Tel: +1 (919) 690-1524