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!!!


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

Thursday, September 8, 2011


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 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!


Port of Hueneme – Oxnard Harbor District & Transportation Security Administration. TWIC Program. Accessed on Sept. 8, 2011.
Useful links for Regulations. 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!


Commodity References – Common Shipping Containers. Accessed on Sept 1, 2011.