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
Garlic, Grapes, Green onions
Kiwifruit, Kohlrabi
Leafy greens, Leeks, Lettuce
Parsley, Parsnips, Peaches, Pears, Peas, Persimmons
Radicchio, Radishes, Raspberries, Rutabagas
Salad Mixes – Bagged, Snow peas, Spinach, Strawberries
Topped beets, Turnips

Transit Conditions of 37-41°F
Cantaloupes, Clementin, Cranberries
Green beans

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

Transit Conditions of 50-55°F
Chayote, Cucumber
Summer squash

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

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?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

C2H4 – Are You Sensitive? Load Compatibility – Part 2

Welcome to part 2 in our series on Load Compatibility for shipments of fresh fruits and vegetables! Today, we take a look at ethylene sensitivity.

Ethylene – the basics:
Ethylene is a colorless gaseous organic compound with the chemical formula C2H4. It is the most produced organic compound in the world, with global production of ethylene exceeding 109 million tonnes in 2006! Ethylene also serves as a hormone in plants. It has a faintly sweetish smell that is the naturally produced ripening hormone of some, but not all fruit. It acts at trace levels through the life of the plant by stimulating or regulating the ripening of fruit, the opening of flowers, and the shedding of leaves. Commercial ripening rooms, widely used throughout the industry to stimulate the ripening of avocados and bananas for example, use catalytic generators to make ethylene gas from a liquid supply of ethanol.

Shipping produce:
As stated above, ethylene is a present hormone in some, but not all produce. Therefore, when shipping mixer loads, the presence of ethylene may not always be beneficial to the shelf life of all the products being transported. Ethylene exposure can also damage some products by stimulating premature ripening, loss of chlorophyll, loss of color, and exposing the product to rot. For this reason, industry experts have categorized fruits and vegetables into ethylene producers and ethylene sensitive groups. Mixing of product in the two groups for transport is not advised:

The Makers (Ethylene Producers):

Apples, Apricots, Avocados, Bananas (if ripening)
Cantaloupes, Cherimoya, Figs, Guavas
Honeydew, Quinces, Mamey, Mangoes
Nectarines, Papayas, Passionfruit, Peaches
Pears, Persimmons, Plantains, Plums
Kiwi (if ripe), Rambutan, Tomatoes, Mangosteen

The Shakers (Ethylene Sensitive) :

Bananas (if unripe), Beans (green), Belgian Endive, Broccoli
Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower
Chard, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Leafy Greens
Lettuce, Okra, Parsley, Peas
Peppers, Spinach, Squash, Sweet Potatoes
Watercress, Watermelons, Kiwi (if unripe), Yams

It is critical to keep the makers and shakers separate, in order to optimize the shelf life of produce in transport!
Odor absorption (part 1 in this series) and ethylene sensitivity (part 2 in this series) are just two considerations that must be taken into account. Stay tuned for more, including temperature, relative humidity, and special packaging/equipment requirements!!


Ethylene. Accessed on Aug 18, 2011.

Commodity References – Good Temperature Guidelines & Ethylene Sensitivity. Accessed on Aug 18, 2011.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Some Produce Just Doesn’t Mix – Load Compatibility – Part 1

Many shipments of fresh fruits and vegetables are what is known in the industry as “mixer loads,” meaning there is a variety of product in the trailer. When preparing mixer loads of varying commodities, many factors must be considered in order to ensure that the products can be safely shipped in a single trailer. Most importantly, odor absorption tendencies, temperature, relative humidity, ethylene sensitivity, and special packaging/equipment requirements top the list as things to consider when dealing with any produce load, and become even more critical on mixer loads.

Today, let’s take a look at the odor absorption tendencies. Below are the most crucial notes for odor absorption as per the industry recognized authority on the subject, the University of California – Davis. The notes below advise on what products should not be mixed in order to avoid odor absorption.

1. Odors from apples and pears are absorbed by cabbage, carrots, celery, figs, onions, and potatoes
2. Avocado odor is absorbed by pineapple.
3. Celery absorbs odor from apple, carrot, and onion.
4. Citrus absorbs odor from strongly scented fruits and vegetables.
5. Ginger odor is absorbed by eggplant.
6. Sulfur dioxide released from the pads that are used to ship table grapes will be absorbed and damage other produce.
7. Green onion odor is absorbed by fig, grape, corn, mushroom, and rhubarb.
8. Leek odor is absorbed by apple, pear, citrus, and celery.
9. Onion odor is absorbed by apple, pear, citrus, and celery.
10. Pepper odor is absorbed by avocado, pineapple, and beans.

It is important to keep these notes in mind, to avoid issues such as pineapples with odors of avocado, or apples with odors of onions!! Odor absorption is just one consideration that must be taken into account for the successful shipping of fresh fruits and vegetables. Stay tuned for more on this series!

Have something to add, or valued experience with shipping mixer loads?? Please share!

References: Accessed on Aug 11, 2011.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Time for a little Q&A - CSA Style!

Did you know that the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) website has been launched for 3 years now?? And the CSA program was officially rolled out over 6 months ago now? Taking all this into account, we thought it would be a good time to go over some Q&A’s on the CSA. We have chosen the top three Q&As from the CSA website that we find most useful for drivers:

Q: How does the Safety Measurement System (SMS) handle crashes when motor carriers are not at fault?

A: The structure of the SMS does not automatically determine or consider crash accountability. Recordable crash reports that States submit to the FMCSA do not include an accountability determination. Therefore, motor carriers are identified for possible intervention based on recordable crashes without consideration of accountability. This approach is taken because data analysis has historically indicated that motor carriers who are involved in crashes, regardless of accountability, are likely to be involved in more future crashes that carriers who are not. Past crashes have become good predictors for future crashes.

Q: How does the SMS handle warning tickets for speeding?

A: The Unsafe Driving Basic of the CSA is currently calculated using all recorded moving (speeding) violations without regard to whether a citation was issued. Analysis have determined that there is a strong relationship between high scores in the Unsafe Driving BASIC and future crashes.

To address concerns in the industry, the FMCSA is considering the addition of a simple Yes/No field to indicate whether a citation was issued in conjunction with the recorded speeding violation. Furthermore, based upon industry concerns, the FMCSA is implementing modifications to the roadside inspection software that its field staff and State Partners use that will require roadside officers to designate the severity of speeding offenses recorded on roadside inspections. As an example, an enforcement officer will have to designate whether the recorded speeding violations was 1-5 MPH over the speed limit, 6-10 MPH over, etc. This will allow the FMCSA to assign less weight to less severe speeding violations.

Q: Why is there no driver rating? Why aren’t drivers more accountable?

A: The FMCSA does not use the SMS or any other system to assign formal safety ratings to individual drivers; however, the agency does acknowledge that holding drivers accountable for safe driving behavior is an important part of the safety compliance and enforcement process. Safety Investigators (SIs) systematically investigate drivers with glaring violations when investigating a motor carrier company. Additionally, these investigators use the Driver SMS, and internal safety assessment tool, to review drivers with strong patterns of non-compliance. Any violations that are not corrected may result in a Notice of Claim or a Notice of Violation for the driver.

Want to brush up on your CSA knowledge? Visit the CSA website for more info!!

Have any other questions you want answered? Leave a comment and we will work to provide an answer!!!

References: Accessed on Aug. 4, 2011.