Thursday, December 22, 2011

~ HAPPY HOLIDAYS ~


2011: what a year!!! Many new faces and going new places, and we all can say that we have much to be grateful for during this eventful year in the refrigerated produce transportation industry, and are looking forward to continued success for our Customer and Carrier Partners.

Once again this year, we have decided to offer our best wishes by way of a charitable donation to families through the North Shore Christmas Bureau as our way of contributing to those less fortunate. This, along with our year round support of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation BC/Yukon Region, helps us put assistance and smiles where they really count.

It has been a sincere pleasure to have worked with so many great people throughout 2011 and to have helped keep driving the road ahead and ensuring the safe, secure, and on time delivery of goods.

Best wishes to you and your families for a Happy Holiday, Merry Christmas, Season’s Greetings, and a Happy New Year!!

From all the Staff at United World Cargo

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Festivities Have Begun!!!!!

Busy week here at UWC! Yesterday, we held our first annual gingerbread people decorating contest. There were 10 teams in total, and each person had their own gingerbread to decorate; then a vote was cast.

And the winners were… the Coconut Team!!! Here, a sample of their work:



A great job was done by everyone! Today, the festivities continue with a Secret Santa gift swap!!!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Safe Travels

Winter road conditions are in full effect, especially in the Pacific North West. Rain, sleet, black ice, slush, and snow are going to be regular road conditions for this winter season. As drivers know, these are especially prevalent on mountain passes.

Below some tips on how to be prepared for winter driving conditions:

1. Make sure to do a pre-trip inspection before each trip. Although this is a year round recommendation, this is even more important during the winter months.


2. Clear the snow and ice from your tractor and trailer to ensure good visibility, check tires, wiper blades, lights, and fluids.

3. Pack the winter essentials: flashlight, batteries, gloves, rain gear, first aid kit, extra fluids, windshield scraper/brush, jumper cables, and tire chains, to name a few.

4. Drive with caution - drive slower, give yourself time, allow for more space between other cars and trucks, accelerate and brake slowly, watch the road carefully for black ice and other winter conditions.

Also, below are the links to State websites that we monitor daily for mountain pass conditions:

• Washington: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Traffic/passes

• Oregon: http://www.tripcheck.com/Pages/RCMap.asp?mainNav=RoadConditions&curRegion=3

Drivers: please be reminded to call ahead for current road conditions or contact the UWC Customer Service Department on our trucker dedicated line - 1.877.273.7400 - for up to the minute highway condition updates!! Preparedness is key!! Don't experience delays and time constraints due to winter weather road conditions on mountain passes.

And now, a view from our office that lets you see that we are in full winter mode!!!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Pulp Thermometers are Here!!!


The second shipment of UWC pulp temperature thermometers have arrived at TC Trans in Blaine, WA!

A pulp temperature thermometer is one of the most necessary items in a driver’s toolkit, along with a pen, notepad, and camera equipped mobile phone. A pulp temperature thermometer is a mandatory tool for all produce loads; All UWC loads MUST be pulped at pickup and delivery!


Pulp at Pickups

As per our Carrier Loading Guidelines, UWC instructs each and every driver to, at the point of loading, pulp the product that they are picking up and record the temperature on the bill of lading (BOL). If access to the loading dock is not allowed, drivers must record “shipper load and count” on the BOL. The reason for noting either one of these events on the BOL is that it can help protect the carrier if any issues arise upon delivery. It is critical that if the pulp temperatures at pickup are any different than what is written on the BOL and/or on the UWC Load sheet, the driver MUST contact UWC immediately, prior to leaving the shed. We can then take the appropriate action and advise all interested parties.


Pulp at Deliveries

The same instructions go for the delivery stage – drivers must record product pulp temperatures on the bill of lading at the time of delivery. If drivers do not have access to the unloading dock, “receiver unload and count” must be written on the BOL. This will further help protect drivers; our primary goal is to prevent exposure to claims and other additional costs.




Pick Yours Up Today!!

Our pocket temperature thermometers feature a 15 second response time and a magnifying lens, and can be used from -40°F to 160°F. They have a +/- 2 °F accuracy, and come with a pocket clip. They also feature an accompanying sleeve for protection. Make sure to wipe your thermometer with a clean moist cloth after each use, and protect it by keeping it in the sleeve.





So, pick up your UWC pulp thermometer at TC Trans today. They are FREE*!!!! And while there, don’t forget to also pick up copies of our Carrier Loading Guidelines and Product Temperature Guidelines Brochures!!!!

* Limit 1 pocket temperature thermometer per driver

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Way of the Smart


For a few years now, the California Environmental Protection Agency has been working on initiatives to reduce climate changing emissions from tractor-trailers and refrigerated trailer units. UWC has been closely monitoring all initiatives in order to provide information and updates to our followers, which can be found published in various posts on this blog, and in various editions of our monthly newsletter The Road Ahead.

Today, we are focusing on facts related to Tractor-Trailer Greenhouse Gas Regulations and the US Environmental Protection Agency SmartWay Transport Partnership Program.

What is the purpose of the regulation?

The CA Air Resources Board has developed this specific regulation in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that are produced by heavy-duty tractors by making them more fuel efficient. Fuel efficiency will be improved by requiring the use of aerodynamic tractors & trailers. These tractors & trailers will also be required to be equipped with low rolling resistance tires.

Tractors & trailers that are subject to this regulation must either use the US EPA SmartWay certified tractors & trailers, or retrofit their existing fleet with SmartWay verified technologies.

Who is affected by the regulation?

The regulation applies primarily to owners of 53’ or longer box-type trailers, including both dry van and refrigerated units, and owners of heavy-duty tractors that operate on CA highways, regardless of what state the vehicle is registered in. Owners are responsible for replacing or retrofitting their affected vehicles with compliant aerodynamic technologies and low rolling resistance tires. Drivers, motor carriers, California-based brokers, and California-based shippers that operate or use these types of vehicle also share the duty for compliance with the regulation. One or all of these parties may be held accountable for operating or using non-compliant vehicles on CA highways.

What are the requirements of the regulation? Compliance dates

For tractors subject to the regulation:

• 2011 and newer model year (MY) sleeper-cab tractors that pull affected trailers must be SmartWay certified, beginning January 1, 2010.

• 2011 and newer MY day-cab tractors that pull affected trailers must use SmartWay verified low rolling resistance tires, beginning January 1, 2010.

• All 2010 and older MY tractors that pull affected trailers must use SmartWay verified low rolling resistance tires beginning January 1, 2013.

For trailers subject to the regulation:

• 2011 and newer MY 53-foot or longer box-type trailers must, beginning January 1, 2010, be either
              o SmartWay certified or
              o Retrofitted with SmartWay verified technologies

• 2010 and older MY 53-foot or longer box-type trailers (with the exception of certain 2003 to 2009 MY refrigerated-van trailers) must meet the same aerodynamic device requirements as 2011 and newer MY trailers either:
              o By January 1, 2013, or
              o According to a compliance schedule based on fleet size which allows them to phase-in their compliance over time.

• 2010 and older MY trailers must use SmartWay verified low rolling resistance tires by January 1, 2017.

• 2003 to 2009 MY refrigerated-van trailers equipped with 2003 or newer MY transport refrigeration units have a compliance phase-in between 2017 and 2019.

So, most operators and other interested parties using equipment that is 2010 or older have a least 1 year to start complying with some of the regulations. To comply, operators may purchase a SmartWay certified tractor and/or trailer, which will come already equipped with the approved technologies. Older units can become compliant by the following retrofits: low rolling resistance tires, trailer rear fairings, trailer side skirts, trailer front gaps, and other SmartWay approved technologies.

Checking In

For more general information, and specific information on the type and number of technologies required, visit the CARB website and the SmartWay websiteHave any opinions about the CA Air Resources Board’s multiple regulations, or experiences in retrofit options? Please share!

References:
California Environmental Protection Agency
Air Resources Board. Facts about Tractor-Trailer Greenhouse Gas Regulation. http://www.arb.ca.gov/cc/HDGHG/HDGHG_Genl_Fact_Sheet.pdf. Accessed on 12/01/2011.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving Thanks



Happy Thanksgiving to all our US Customer and Carrier Partners!!

We hope you have a great long weekend! We would like to take this time to thank each and every one of you for your business and support, and we look forward to continuing long term business relationships!

~~ Have a great turkey day!! ~~

Thursday, November 17, 2011

In the Running!



Recently, UWC applied for an award program offered by the international accounting firm, Deloitte & Touche. The program, Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies, also runs in several European Countries, Asia, and Mexico. The Canadian division of the program was established back in 1993, and is recognized as one of the country’s leading business award program. The Best Managed designation symbolizes Canadian corporate success, and spotlights companies who are focused on their core vision, creating stakeholder value, and excelling in the global economy. The program continues to raise the profile of Canadian companies that have outperformed their competitors, created thousands of jobs, achieved sustainable growth, and excelled both at home and abroad. Check out the Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies website to discover more on the program!

Each year, hundreds of entrepreneurial companies compete for this designation in a rigorous and independent process that evaluates the quality of their management abilities and practices. The program is made even more unique because it focuses on Canadian owned and managed companies, recognizes overall business performance and sustained growth, recognizes efforts of an entire organization, and does more than measure just financial performance.

In the beginning of November, Deloitte & Touche hosted an awards ceremony for the finalists for British Columbia. At that time, UWC was selected as of the 12 finalists from BC! We will now go on to be evaluated across Canada in the hopes of being selected as of the 50 best.

A great accomplishment for us here at UWC…. Recognizing our entire company and what we have accomplished in 8 years of business. It stands as a tribute to our commitment to business excellence and our ongoing efforts of continual improvement.

A great stride in driving the road ahead!!!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

2007 or Newer? You're In... 2006 and Older? You're Out!


The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have announced that trucks older than 2006 will be banned from entry to port terminals beginning in January 2012. Back in January 2010, ports banned trucks with 1993 or older engines. This latest step, which is part of the Clean Trucks Program introduced in October 2008, is the last phase in the planned progression to disallow older trucks into the ports.

Trucks will be banned entry into these port terminals in January if they do not meet the 2007 Federal Clean Truck Emission Standard. Most drayage trucks that currently enter these ports have already been converted to newer, cleaner trucks. This also means that they are no longer paying a clean truck container fee. According to sources, of the more than 10,000 trucks that are registered to do business in the Los Angeles and Long Beach port complexes, less than 3% are still paying the fee because they haven’t converted their trucks.

So, what does the conversion to newer, cleaner trucks mean? It has reduced diesel particulate matter from truck-related pollution by more than 80%. The industry is also replacing vehicles much sooner than expected, which has resulted in reductions in air pollution that are 2 years ahead of schedule.

This Program is just one in a series of California Air Resource Board initiatives to reduce diesel particulate pollution. For Drayage trucks, there are many solutions available in order to meet compliance, both long term and short term. The short term solutions do not meet the requirements of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, so it is critical for drayage truck owners to be aware and fully understand their options. Visit the CARB Drayage webpage for more information. Also, let’s not forget about the numerous TRU (reefer) regulations that are now in place in California. Visit the CARB TRU webpage for more information on these regulations and how to become compliant. Remember, the rules are for ANY truck operating in California!!!

As always, if you need assistance in making sense of the regulations and facilitating compliance, give our carrier relations department a call!!!

What can compliance do for you? Read our Get TWIC'd and Compliant Now post to find out!

References:
So. Calif. Ports to Ban Trucks Older Than Model Year 2006. Transport Topics. http://www.ttnews.com/articles/petemplate.aspx?storyid=28029. Accessed on 11/10/2011.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Revisiting.... Refrigeration!!!

Trailer refrigeration is one of, if not, the most important factor in ensuring the delivery success of fresh fruits and vegetables. The object of trailer refrigeration is to prolong storage and shelf life, and to maintain quality by lowering the commodity temperature so that respiration, metabolic deterioration, and decay are slowed down. One of the most important things to remember is that the function of a trailer’s refrigeration unit is to maintain the temperature of the commodity, not to lower the temperature; therefore, pre-cooling of fruits and vegetables prior to shipping is essential.

So now, let’s look at some of the key factors in trailer refrigeration.

Methods of refrigeration

1. Mechanical refrigeration: this operates by absorbing heat at one point and dispensing it at another. This is accomplished by circulating a refrigerant, most commonly Freon, between two points.

2. Ice: in addition to mechanical refrigeration, ice is sometimes used to help maintain humidity inside the trailer. The main drawbacks for ice are its weight which cuts down the allowable product weight, the arranging of replenishing ice while in transit, and the requirement of water-resistant shipping containers. Recommended procedure for top icing is to apply the crushed ice on top of the load in 3 length-wise windrows. The thermostat should be set to 35F to allow the ice to melt steadily during the trip; a colder setting may crust or freeze the ice and block air circulation, which then affects trailer air circulation and causes heat to build up in the interior of the load.

Air Circulation

Air circulation is critical to ensure uniform temperatures throughout the load. There are two methods of circulating air in refrigerated trailers:

1. Top Air Delivery: This is the most common design in trailers. Ceiling ducts are used to direct the air from the blower to the rear of the trailer. Load patterns that provide unblocked air channels throughout the load to allow the air to return to the blower intake are required. Load locks must also be used to prevent the load from shifting or toppling backwards and blocking air circulation between the load and the rear doors. Recessed groove floors and inverted-rib sidewalls are also designed to increase the amount of air that can be circulated through the load. Finally, bulkheads are designed so they do not block the air returning to the blower.

2. Bottom Forced-Air Delivery: In this method, air is forced under and up through the load. The air returns to the lower over the top of the load and through the top of the bulkhead.

Humidity

Most fruits and vegetables require high relative humidity to prevent dehydration and to keep them looking fresh and crisp. Some moisture loss during transit has to be accepted, but it must always be minimized, by the following procedures:

1. Using top or packing ice where possible.

2. Thorough pre-cooling to reduce the temperature difference between the product and the surrounding air.

3. Keeping the refrigeration unit’s coil only a few degrees colder than the desired transit temperature.

4. Waxing or using semi-permeable wraps to reduce evaporation.

Do you have expertise in trailer refrigeration? Please share! Also have a look at some of our numerous posts that discuss the popular topics of temperature, loading/load compatibility, and how a refrigeration unit works!!!!

References:
Transportation. RBCS Handbooks. http://rbcs.com/HandbookArticles/transpor.htm. Accessed on Nov 3, 2011.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

And the Winners Are.....

Yesterday, UWC had our 2nd Annual Pumpkin Carving Contests. Teams of 3 or 4 were randomly selected, and 8 pumpkins in total were carved! At the end of the day, a vote was taken. Below, the pumpkin of the winning team, yoU Will Cry:


Great pumpkin team, and great name too!!!! Head over to our facebook page to see all 8 great pumpkins!!! Hope everyone had a safe and fun Halloween!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

First Mexican Truck Crosses into US, Tariffs Dropped


The produce industry has celebrated the news that Mexico has officially lifted tariffs that have amounted to more than $900 million of US agricultural products since 2009; this helps to settle a costly dispute over the Mexican trucking pilot program. We discussed this topic back in a post in April; as a review, Mexico is the United States third largest trading partner, and the Mexican tariffs were imposed after years of disputes over a provision in the NAFTA that allowed Mexican long haul trucker to enter US highways in 2000. When US congress blocked funding for the program, the dispute was set into motion.

The first Mexican truck crossed the US border on Friday, Oct 21, 2011 as part of the new cross-border trucking pilot program between the Mexico and the United States. The truck crossed the Rio Grande at the Laredo point of entry, and was bound for Garland, TX. Earlier that Friday, Mexico lifted the remaining tariffs on 99 U.S. products that are exported to Mexico.

With this new pilot program, Mexican approved carriers will be able to operate in the United States for up to 3 years, and similarly, US carriers can operate throughout Mexico for the same time period.

This momentous event means that for many US growers, a greater opportunity for increase in volume exports, and possibly product price increases.

Have any comments on the new pilot program and the elimination of the tariffs? Please share!

References:
Mexico Drops Tariffs as first Mexican Truck Roll over to US border. http://theproducenews.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=33163:mexico-drops-tariffs-as-first-mexican-truck-roll-over-us-border&catid=43:featured&Itemid=41. Accessed on 10/27/2011.

In other news….

Survey Says…

The 2011 ‘Jerry Maguire says, “help us help you”’ Customer Survey, and the 2011 “comchek-ing in” Carrier Survey are now complete! The surveys ran from Sept 15th – Oct 15th, 2011, with prize draws occurring on Oct.20th, 2011. Two customer participants are now the lucky owners of Apple 8GB iPod Nanos, and four carrier participants won prizes of $50 cash vouchers!!! Congrats to all our winners!

UWC contracted out the services of Survey Monkey to conduct these blinded and confidential surveys. Thanks to all who participated; the results have given us great insight on how we can serve our partners better!!!

Phantom Produce!!

Halloween is almost here, and to celebrate, we are having our 2nd annual office pumpkin carving contest. Stay tuned next week to see the winner!!!!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Oktoberfest

October: the start of Fall, and for the refrigerated produce industry in North America, the time when produce starts transitioning to ship out new areas. UWC closely follows these transitioning trends, as it allows us to plan for lanes and anticipate truck demand. So, let’s look at 4 full truckload products and how they are transitioning.

Avocadoes: The season in California has concluded. Mexico inventories have been noted as lower due to heavy rains halting the harvest at the end of last week. Weather in this region has improved, and harvest should increase by the end of this week. In particular, movement from crossings through Texas are expected to increase.

Cucumbers: In the Baja, light production has continued throughout this week; many growers have moved through the flush of new field crop. Some early production has started out of mainland Mexico, with crossings through Nogales expected to increase seasonally, and crossings from Otay Mesa, CA expected to decrease slightly. Light shipments have also begun out of the Central and South Florida districts, with sufficient volume expected by the end of October.

Bell Peppers: The California Central Valley and Oxnard district crops are beginning seasonal decline, with overall volumes set to drop. Green bell peppers will begin out of the California Desert/Coachella Valley lightly starting next week. No real volume is expected until mid-November. The supplies of colored bells remains good, but are starting their seasonal decline. Mexico crossings through Arizona are expected to arrive the week of Oct 24th, with reportable volumes expected by mid-November.

Tomatoes: Growers and shippers in the San Joaquin Valley, California are in their last couple of weeks of harvest. Most product is still coming out of this area, along with the California Coast, and some Mexico Crossings through Otay Mesa, California. Demand is set to shift to the East by the end of October, with light harvesting set to start at that time in West and Central Florida.

Stay tuned for more news/transition updates!! Have any insight to share? What is the best way you plan for these transitions??

References:

The Packer – Crops and Markets. http://www.thepacker.com/fruit-vegetable-news/crops-markets. Accessed on Oct. 19, 2011.

Pro-Act; The Source Market Report. http://web1.digitalmotionsolutions.com/proactusa.com/PDF/The%20Source.pdf. Accessed on Oct. 19, 2011.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Get a Load of This!!! Tips to help you get you on the Road


Temperature, Equipment, and Loading Procedures & Guidelines are topics that we revisit regularly here. One of the reasons why is that we recognize that these factors are critical to the successful delivery of any shipment, and we strive to constantly share our wealth of knowledge with our followers!!!

Today, let’s review some essential loading tips. More information on loading can be found in our Carrier Loading Guidelines, available for download off our website, and in hard-copy at TC Trans in Blaine, WA!!!

There are many points that must be checked before and during loading to make sure that the integrity of the refrigerated trailer is maintained. For example, high temperature in a refrigerated trailer can allow bacteria normally present in food items to increase to dangerous numbers.

Below, a checklist with some notable features that should be checked prior to loading (all noted in our Loading Guidelines):

  Trailer container cooled to the recommended temperature?
 Refrigeration unit operated correctly, and as designed?
  Load thoroughly pre-cooled?
  Load locks/bracing used to secure load? (check out our previous posts on this topic!)
  Heating unit operates as designed?
  Trailer aired to remove residual odors?
 Temperature recorder working?
  Air delivery chute intact?
  Door seal undamaged?
  Side door sealed tight?
  Door, wall, or ceiling all undamaged?
  Floor clean and undamaged?
  Floor drains open and clean?
  Front air bulkhead installed?
  Inside height/width adequate for load?
  Door height adequate for load?

There are some other helpful tips to keep in mind when loading:

-  If the loading area is unrefrigerated, turn off the refrigeration unit while loading. Warm air drawn in during loading can cause the evaporator to frost, and will result in the refrigeration unit not being able to operate as designed.

- Avoid loading tightly against flat side walls by using pallets, racks, and dunnage. Room for air circulation must be provided under, around, and through the load.

- Do not block air circulation at the rear door.

Have any other tips you want to share? Please leave us a comment!

Now a part of the less than 1% club, UWC is TIA $100,000 Performance Certified!!!! Click here to read more!

References:
The Packer. The Guide 2011: Produce Availability & Merchandising Guide. Vol CXVIII. No. 54.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Newsflash!!! Shields Up!!!!

UWC increases its TIA Surety Bond to $100,000!!!
The TIA Performance Certified Program is an industry recognized Best Practices program of the Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA) with guaranteed levels of freight payment. The Program offers a competitive advantage to transportation brokers and provides a guarantee of payment in excess of the $10,000 surety bond that is required by the FMCSA to conduct business as a licensed broker. There are five levels of surety bonds that are offered by the TIA; $10,000, $25,000, $50,000, $100,000 and $250,000. UWC is now ahead of the curve with the $100,000 bond designation!

In the dynamic freight marketplace, carriers, shippers, and customers must have the confidence that they are dealing with the most financially stable brokers in the market. The TIA Performance Certified program is the shield and guarantee that UWC is going above and beyond to provide security.

So, what are some key points of the program?

• The shield recognizes UWC as an industry elite. Less than 1% of brokers, forwarders, and others 3PLs are performance certified.

• The TIA Performance Certified Program is among the leaders in the 3PL industry, and as a part of the program, UWC practices leading professional standards of business operations while maintaining guarantees protecting freight.

• The Program is independent. It is neither part, nor dependent on the past collection experience of a factoring company or freight board.

• TIA has been the industry’s voice since 1979! It is the only broker/bond trust program that is run by brokers! Any profits of the program go back to support the Association.

Improvement of Credit score – TransCredit (an independent agency rating brokers) awards UWC 3 extra points for being a TIA Performance Certified company that holds at $100,000 bond.

• The program allows us to stand out from the crowd! Only TIA Performance certified companies are recognized for their guaranteed broker trust and voluntarily increased trust amounts on every load major internet load board! Check out our diamond broker member status on the Internet Truckstop!!!!



What are characteristics does UWC hold that make it Performance Certified?

• Dedicated to the highest level of ethics, and adopts strict best practices by adhering to Program rules.

• Maintains a credit score of 90% or above.

• Uses written agreements.

• Maintains insurance coverage.

• Maintains a verified broker bond.

• Maintains a written carrier qualification framework.

• Maintains higher levels of bond issued by TIA Surety and Avalon Risk Management.

This program is one of many steps that allows us to drive the road ahead!!!! We want to wish all our Canadian followers a happy Thanksgiving weekend!!!!!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Revisiting… Truck Insurance


Having the right insurance policy with the right coverage is one of (if not) the most important factor for any trucking company.

The most common terms you will hear in coverage are the following (along with basic definitions):

- Automotive Liability Insurance: coverage if an insured is legally liable for bodily injury or property damage caused by an automobile.
- Physical Damage Insurance: coverage of an insured’s vehicle if it is damaged due to various sources, for example: fire.
- Cargo Insurance: coverage for cargo as it is transported to another location.

All the jargon and legal language that comes along with these policies, can be complicated and difficult to fully understand, and many companies pay their monthly premium without fully understanding what their insurance covers them for and what it does not. For any of these policies, the “exclusions” portion is one of the most important sections, since this will let you know what your policy does not cover.

So, now, let’s look at some examples of exclusions in insurance policies:

 Theft or a tractor/trailer from an unsecured, non-gated, and/or unmonitored area.
 Lack of evidence of a break in to a tractor/trailer.
 Reefer breakdown on trailers that are more than 10 years old – this can be regardless of if your coverage includes reefer breakdown – if the trailer is 10 or more years old, the insurance company will not provide coverage.
 Failure to maintain proper temperature in the trailer – unless the failure is caused by or results from fire, lightning, explosions, collision, overturn, flood (as defined as the rising of any “natural” body of water).

Common insurance statements, and what they mean:

Whatever the exclusions or conditions of the insurance policy that a company signs up for, most will have common language. Here are some examples, decoded:

- “The Insured warrants that the refrigeration equipment will be maintained at all times in accordance with the manufacturers specifications” – what this means is that the carrier company must make sure that the trailer and all its refrigeration equipment will be routinely inspected, maintained, and repaired if necessary, on a schedule that is advised by the maker of the trailer.

- “The Insured warrants that the refrigeration equipment will be fully inspected at least every three months by you or a facility approved by the manufacturers. Records of these inspections must be maintained and be made available for inspection” – what this means is that a carrier company must have legitimate paperwork for maintenance and reports, must keep ALL paperwork related to maintenance and repairs, so that they can be provided to the insurance company in the event of a claim. Keep these documents, and most of all, keep them in a safe place!

Remember, knowledge is king! So, be in the know and a king of the road!!!

Are you unsure of what your policy covers, and what it excludes? Feel free to send it to us – we can review the policy and advise accordingly. It is in everyone’s best interest that we all understand what we are protected and covered for!

Do you have any specific experiences in dealing with insurance policies and exclusions? Please share!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fruits and Veggies - Yes, They're Special!!!



As we look at the final days of summer, and head into fall, we will see an increase in harvesting, imports, and exports. Washington is steadily increasing its apple harvest, and brazil is now the hot importer for mangoes. There are some specialty produce items that are increasing in popularity throughout the continent that may be little known.



Today, we look at an A to Z of Specialties:

A – Ajis: A very hot pepper, ranging in color from yellow to red.

B – Belgian Endive: this is a relative to chicory; it has a white head of yellow-tipped, closely wrapped leaves and a mild bitter flavor.

C – Cocktail Avocado: A seedless, pit-less fruit of the fuerte avocado; it has a buttery flavor, is 2 ½ inches long, and about 1 inch in diameter.

D – Daikon: Resembles a white carrot; it has a juicy-crisp flesh that tastes slightly hotter than a radish. It is about a foot long and weighs between ½ to 2 lbs. It can also be called a Japanese or oriental radish.

E – Epazote: A herb that has a unique pungent flavor and a strong, camphor-like aroma. Arriba! It is a staple of Mexican cuisine!

F – Feijoa: An oval-shaped fruit that has a dark green skin and a creamy white flesh, with tiny edible seeds. The skin is tart, and the flesh has a tropical taste.

G – Gooseberries: A tart berry that are similar in size and color to green seedless grapes. They must be cooked before eating.

H – Honeyloupe: A cross between a cantaloupe and a honeydew; they are mild in flavor and contain few seeds.

I – Ita Palm Fruit: Grown in bunches that can weigh up to 110 lbs on the palm tree . They are covered in reddish-brown or reddish-yellow scales. The center of the fruit contains a hard, oval shaped seed, that is also edible.

J – Jackfruit: Available both fresh and dried. Fresh jackfruit can be cooked when it is still green and can be served as a vegetable. The fruit can also be allowed to ripen, at which time it can be eaten raw or cooked or used in ice cream. But be warned, the fully ripe jackfruit has an unpleasant odor and deteriorate quickly after ripening.

K – Kabocha Squash: Also referred to as Japanese pumpkin or winter squash. They have deep green skins, and a rich sweetness that has been described as a balance between a sweet potato and a pumpkin.

L – Lily Root: This root looks like a solid link chain. It has a reddish brown skin and a creamy white flesh with a crisp texture.

M – Mangosteen: An usual fruit that has a thick, very hard rind. It is about the size of a mandarin orange, with an interior that is also similar to an orange. The juicy flesh has the flavor or peach and pineapple. The pulp is white and juicy with a sweet tart flavor.

N – Nir Grass: Varieties can be dark green or pale yellow with a round stem topped by a pointed flower bud. They are also referred to as Chinese chives.

O – Oca: Prized for their brilliant colors of red and White, as well as their slightly acidic flavor. Oca is said to taste like potatoes that already have sour cream. What could be better??!

P – Pepino Melon: An oval-shaped fruit that has a smooth, firm skin that is yellow with purple stripes when ripe. The flavor is mildly sweet, with a sweet aroma.

Q – Quince: There are two main varieties: perfumed quince and pineapple quince. Both must be cooked before eating. Perfumed quince has a smooth yellow skin and a white flesh that is tart. Pineapple quince has a golden yellow skin, white flesh, and an acidic pineapple flavor.

R – Rambutan: Is oval shaped with a bright red or yellow skin covered with short, soft, hair-like spikes. The flesh is white or semi-transparent with a crisp, sweet taste.

S – Salicornia: A green succulent that resembles baby aloe jointed together; tweet tweet – it can also look like birds’ feet! It is crunchy and salty.

T – Tamarillo: Also commonly known as the “tree tomato.” It comes in red, gold, or amber varieties. The flesh is bitter, almost meaty.

U – Ugli Tangelo / Uniq Fruit: These are thought to be a cross between a tangerine and a grapefruit. The fruit has a thick, loose skin which may vary in color from light green to yellow-orange.

V – Voavanga: Also known as the Spanish Tamarind; it is a round fruit, that is green with white dots, and turns brown when fully ripe. The pulp is moderately juicy with a slightly acidic flavor.

W – Wampee: Small, spherical and about 1 inch in diameter; it has a yellow or yellow-brown, translucent skin white a white, jelly-like flesh. The flavor is tart.

X – Xigua: An edible fruit that looks very similar to a watermelon, only shorter in size.

Y – Yucca: Shaped like an elongated sweet potato, yucca has pink to brown rough skin and dense, softly fibrous, white flesh. And the name is fun to say too!!!

Z – Ziziphus: An edible fruit, that has a yellow-brown, red, or black flesh. It is often very sweet and sugary, and is thought to be similar to a date in texture and flavor.

So, here’s our challenge! Branch out, try something from the list, and let us know what you think!!!

References:

The Packer. The Guide 2011: Produce Availability & Merchandising Guide. Vol CXVIII. No. 54.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

GET TWIC’d & COMPLIANT NOW!

Increase your probability of steady, year round business!

Want to ensure you and your truck have the possibility of year round, steady business in the produce trucking industry? Well, drivers with TWIC cards operating trucks that are port compliant greatly increase those chances! A lot of year round produce trucking business relies on the import and export of fruits and vegetables from various ports around the United States. Bananas from Ecuador and Guatemala arrive daily into California ports, and this is just one example of this type of business, that UWC is involved in on a year round basis.

TWIC, a review:

The Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) is named as a vital security measure that ensures individuals who pose a threat do not gain access to secure areas of the nation’s maritime transportation system. TWIC cards are tamper resistant, biometric credentials that are issued to workers who require unescorted access to secure areas of ports, vessels, outer continental shelf facilities, and all credentialed merchant mariners. Individuals who meet TWIC eligibility requirements (must be a US citizen or fall into an eligible immigration category, cannot have been convicted of certain crimes, cannot be connect to terrorist activity, and cannot lack mental capacity) will be issued a tamper-resistant credential containing the worker’s biometric (by way of fingerprint template) to allow for a positive link between the card and the individual.

A TWIC card is valid for five years. The cost of the card is $132.50 US. For more information on eligibility and the enrollment process, visit the TWIC website!

PORT COMPLIANCE, a review:

Port compliance is a heated industry topic, that is more an issue in the State of California than any other. In order to gain access to the ports in California, there are two compliance issues that are at work. There is a Drayage (port or rail yard) truck rule, and the TRU (Transportation Refrigeration Unit) rule that apply.

Drayage trucks are defined as on road-heavy duty diesel fueled class 7 and class 8 (GVW > 26,000lbs) trucks transporting port or rail yard cargos in California. The regulation applies to all drayage trucks, regardless of the state or country of origin or frequency of visit. In general, this regulation requires emission reductions from drayage trucks as well as vehicle registration in the California State operated Drayage Truck Registry (DTR). Find more information by looking at the California EPA’s Drayage Truck Fact Sheet and info on how to register your truck by looking at the Drayage Truck Registry Fact Sheet!!!!

TRU (Transport Refrigeration Unit) rule applies to in-use diesel fueled TRUs and TRU generator sets that operate in the state of California, whether they are registered in our outside the State. California-based reefers were required to register with ARB by July 31, 2009 or within 30 days of a new or used unit entering a carrier’s control. California terminal operators that operate TRUS were also required to submit Operator Reports by July 31, 2009 and provide updates within 30 days of changes to any information. Enforcement of both these requirements began on August 2009. The first deadline for in-use performance standards for 2001 and older engines was December 31, 2008. Model year 2001 engines were required to comply by December 31, 2009. Enforcement of in-use performance standard began in January 2001. Subsequent model year engines must comply with in-use standards by December 31st of the seventh year after the engine model year. Find more information by looking at the California EPA’s Transport Refrigeration Unit Brochure and info on how to register by looking at the TRU Registration website!!!

Increase your likelihood of steady year round business! Get TWIC and Port Compliant now, and let us know you are!


References:

Port of Hueneme – Oxnard Harbor District & Transportation Security Administration. TWIC Program. www.portofhueneme.org/documents/twic_program.pdf. Accessed on Sept. 8, 2011.
Useful links for Regulations. http://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/truckstop/azregs/azregs.php. Accessed on Sept 8, 2011.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Can You Contain It??? - Load Compatibility - Part 4


As we have reviewed over the past few weeks, there are many factors to consider to ensure that produce can be safely shipped in a single trailer. We have so far reviewed odor absorption tendencies, ethylene sensitivity, and optimal product temperature.

But what about packaging??? Different products require different types of packaging for transport to ensure that they will look their best in the aisles. So, if you are hauling a mixer load, you may see various types of containers and packaging on the truck!

The main function of packaging is to protect the product from mechanical and environmental conditions throughout the marketing chain, from the growers field all the way to the grocery store produce aisles. Convenient handling is critical; the product should easily fit in to the shape of the container and space should be maximized. Packaging also serves another important function; it can identify facts about the product, such as brand, size, grade, weight, count, shipper, and sometimes even origin. Packaging geared towards consumers can also include value-added extras such as recipes, and nutritional information.

Common materials that are used in produce packaging are wood, corrugated fiberboard, and plastic.

Below are the considerations that are used to determine the type of packaging that will be used:

- Disposal – recyclable and/or biodegradable choices are becoming more and more popular and the industry turns green. These choices are often good on the financial side too, since many markets and areas have restrictions and hefty charges for the disposal of packaging material.

 - Humidity & Moisture – packaging plays a major role in moisture control. Some produce – such as onions and potatoes – requires moisture to easily flow away. Others – such as asparagus – require packaging that retains moisture. And products that are shipped either with ice in the container, or with top ice must maintain their structural integrity under the wet conditions products by the melting ice. Soggy and collapsed containers never look nice upon delivery!!! Finally, products that are hydro-cooled in their boxes will also require water-resistant packaging.

 - Sanitation – Fresh cut and value added products require packaging that can easily be cleaned. And reusable/returnable packaging must be developed so that it is easily cleaned when returned for re-use.

- Strength – most importantly, the packaging must protect the produce while it is in transit. In addition, the packaging material must arrive in optimal condition. Collapsed, dented, or torn containers indicates possible damage to the product inside, which will affect sales.

 - Tare Weights – Freight is always an important cost in marketing of produce. Dealers continually want to maximize the weight of saleable product; this means minimizing the weight of packaging material.

 - Ventilation – ventilation is essential for most produce. Venting allows heat to escape and cold air to be forced through the containers. Containers are often made so that they vents will match up to nearby containers to allow for free-flowing air throughout the trailer. It is critical that the vents are not too large or numerous, because this can weaken the container and cause collapse during transit.

 As this series has shown, there is much that goes into making sure that the apple that you pick out of the produce aisle looks its best! It is a labor of love! Speaking of labor, Happy Labor Day to all our readers!! We hope you have a safe and enjoyable long weekend!

References:


Commodity References – Common Shipping Containers. http://apps.bluebookservices.com/BBOS/GetPublicationFile.aspx?PublicationArticleID=6038. Accessed on Sept 1, 2011.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Dog Days of Summer – Managing the Temp – Load Compatibility – Part 3

We are now fully into the dog days of summer; temperatures seem to be staying warm around the continent, and it reminds us of how important it is to manage the temperatures of the produce we carry! Now into the 3rd week of our series on Load Compatibility (take a look at 1 and 2!), we take a look at managing in-transit temperature settings of various fruits, vegetables, and nursery products. UWC has developed a brochure, entitled Product Temperature Guidelines, to assist our partners with this topic, which is especially important when dealing with mixer loads. Below an excerpt from the brochure that groups fruits, vegetables, and nursery products by their required transit conditions:

Transit Conditions of 32-36°F
Anise, Apples, Apricots, Artichokes, Asparagus,
Bean sprouts, Beets, Belgian endive, Blackberries, Blueberries, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Brussel sprouts
Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Cherries, Corn
Daikon, Dry onions
Escarole
Flowers
Garlic, Grapes, Green onions
Kiwifruit, Kohlrabi
Leafy greens, Leeks, Lettuce
Mushrooms
Nectarines
Parsley, Parsnips, Peaches, Pears, Peas, Persimmons
Quince
Radicchio, Radishes, Raspberries, Rutabagas
Salad Mixes – Bagged, Snow peas, Spinach, Strawberries
Topped beets, Turnips

Transit Conditions of 37-41°F
Avocadoes
Cantaloupes, Clementin, Cranberries
Green beans
Honeydews
Kumquat
Mandarin
Oranges
Potatoes
Tangerines

Transit Conditions of 42-48°F
Grapefruit
Lemons, Limes
Potatoes, Peppers


Transit Conditions of 50-55°F
Chayote, Cucumber
Eggplant
Okra
Summer squash
Tomatoes
Watermelon

Transit Conditions of 55-60°F
Bananas, Bitter melon
Ginger root, Guava
Mangoes
Papayas, Pineapple, Plantain, Pumpkin
Tomatillos

Transit Conditions of 60-65°F
Nursery Product – potted plants

*Remember, all transit temperatures are subject to final approval by the owner of the product.

For more information, take a look at our Product Temperature Guidelines Brochure, available in English and Spanish. You can download the brochure off our website, or you can pick one up at our driver information board at TC Trans in Blaine, WA!!!

Question: are you enjoying the dog days of summer?? Our summer here at UWC has seen many of us take trips – things we have seen and places we have gone include: the Okanagan, Alaska, Las Vegas, Mexico, and Ecuador! Where have you been this summer?