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!

Mexico Drops Tariffs as first Mexican Truck Roll over to US border. 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


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??


The Packer – Crops and Markets. Accessed on Oct. 19, 2011.

Pro-Act; The Source Market Report. 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!

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!!!!!