Thursday, June 24, 2010

UWC has improved its SmartWay Score!

In 2009, UWC joined the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) SmartWaySM Transport Program. SmartWaySM is an innovative collaboration between the EPA and the freight sector. By joining, UWC is showing that we are committed to promoting greater energy efficiency and air quality within the freight transport sector. As a Carrier & Logistics Partner, we are assisting our drivers in making better choices for their businesses and the environment.

UWC has joined to SmartWaySM Transport Partnership as a Logistics Partner for three years, and by doing so has committed to increasing the percentage of freight shipped by SmartWaySM Carriers by at least 10% per year. We report our progress towards this goal to the EPA annually.

United World Cargo has just completed the report from our previous year, and are happy to announce that we have increased our score by 1300% over the year before!!! We have been told by the EPA SmartWaySM Transport Program that we are well on track with an improving score year after year, and that they look forward to our future reports!

Call UWC today to see how you too can join SmartWaySM; committing to improving freight carrying options will result in reduced fuel consumption and maintenance costs! It's good for you, your company, and the environment!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Notification: Full interstate closures on I-90

The Washington State Department Of Transportation (WSDOT) has announced that beginning on June 14th, rock blasting activities and full interstate closures will occur on the I-90 east of Snoqualmie Pass.

HYAK - WSDOT and contractor crews will begin the first of a series of controlled blasts on Interstate 90 this week near the Keechelus Lake Snowshed (located at Milepost 58), forcing up to one hour closures of I-90 in both directions. This will also lead to delays in travel times, and possibly pickup and delivery times for truck drivers as well.

The interstate closures and restrictions will occur from now until October, and crews will be blasting, loading, and hauling away approximately one million tons of rock from the slopes adjacent to the I-90. This work is all part of the $571 million Hyak to Keechelus Dam Project that calls for widening the interstate from four lanes to six lanes. This, along with other planned improvements are aimed to increase the reliability of the I-90 for all motorists.

Check the WSDOT site at http://www.wsdot.wa.go/Traffic/passes/snoqualmie daily for updates on exact closure locations, times, and delays. For example, today the site notes that: "Milepost 52 to Milepost 58 through Thursday traffic is restricted to one lane each direction 24 hours a day and loads exceeding 14 feet wide are prohibited. Rolling slowdowns will be used intermittently through the work zone, travelers may experience some added travel time."

Feel free to also call UWC in order to get up to date information on this topic!!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Spotlight on..... Tomatoes

Tomatoes are one of the most widely consumed produce items in North America. Our blog entry this week pays homage to this, and is all about the tomato, from less known facts, market info, and handling tips.

Did you know?

The tomato is also known as the love apple, and one pound of its seed can produce up to 140,000 plants. One of the most debated questions regarding the tomato is if it is a fruit or vegetable. Botanically, the tomato is a fruit of the vine. But many people think of it as a vegetable. In 1893, the United States Supreme Court ruled that for the purposed of levying a tariff, the tomato would be regarded as a vegetable.

A hothouse tomato only has 21 calories, is very high vitamin C and potassium, is a source of folacin and Vitamin A, and is fat free!

The Market

According to The Packer website, tomatoes tied with potatoes as the No. 1 most purchased vegetable in 2009. That's a jump from fourth spot in 2008. Leading the pack variety wise is the traditional round beefsteak, a popular choice for salads, recipes, and side dishes.

Florida is the United States largest producer of fresh tomatoes, with a season ranging from October to June, and with their season winding down, Florida is hoping for a better start to their season than what was seen in 2010.

Hothouse tomatoes are grown year round and offer complete climate control, maximum light conditions, and reduce pest and weather pressures. Notable greenhouse locations in North America include various areas in California (Oxnard, for example) and British Columbia (Delta, for example).

Handling Tips

Field tomatoes come out of the fields and go into "gas rooms" for ripening purposes. This is a critical process in the ripening stage and will determine how tomatoes are to be handled in transit.

Most customers will request colour and stage updates for each day of transit. Below are the colour and stage categories most commonly used:

  • Green - Stage 1 - The tomato surface is completely green. The shade of green may vary from light to dark.
  • Breakers - Stage 2 - There is a definite break of colour from green to tannish-yellow, pink, or red on 10% or less of the tomato surface
  • Turning - Stage 3 - Tannish-yellow, pink, or red colour shows on over 10% but no more than 30% of the surface of the tomato.
  • Pink - Stage 4 - Pink or red colour shows on over 30% but not more than 60% of the tomato surface.
  • Light Red - Stage 5 - Pinkish-red or red colour shows on over 60% but not more than 90% of the tomato surface
  • Red - Stage 6 - Red colour shows on over 90% of the tomato surface.

Load temperatures will be based on the initial colour report that must be provided at time of loading. All temperatures must be set to continuous. As tomatoes ripen while in transit, customer will often adjust temperature settings while product is in transit to achieve the desired ripeness upon delivery.

Proper handling of tomatoes during loading and while in transit will greatly assist in providing optimal product condition upon delivery.

Anything to add? Tell us what you think!! The tomato question endures, do you think of a tomato as a fruit or vegetable?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

New Cell Phone Enforcement in Washington State

Last week, the Washington State Patrol announced that it will not offer a grace period when texting while driving and failure to use a hands-free device become primary traffic offenses on June 10.

Making the change....

It is common for the state patrol to offer educational grace periods when a new law requires a change to a long-standing behavior. However, it has been determined that drivers have already had nearly two years to adjust their driving habits, and taking that into account, the Washington State Patrol will be fully enforcing this law from day one.

Laws that prohibit texting and requiring hands-free devices took effect in 2008, but have been considered secondary violations, meaning that officers had to witness some other infraction in order to make a traffic stop. The new designation as primary law means police officers can stop drivers for a texting or cell phone violation alone.

The benefits:

Texting and cell phone requirements are intended to save lives and reduce injuries by eliminating two major sources of driver distraction. The number of collisions caused by inappropriate use of mobile devices is greatly under-reported.

The numbers:

Since the laws went into effect in 2008, the Washington State Patrol has written approximately 3,000 tickets and given 5,900 warnings.

The fine for a violation is $124 - hands free devices can be purchased for approximately $50.

Like always, make sure you and your truck are well equipped before heading out on the road!!