How COVID-19 Impacts Produce Season 2020
Now that the days are getting longer and temperatures are getting warmer, shippers and carriers would normally be in the middle of produce season 2020, the time of year when large volumes of fruits and vegetables are shipped across the country and the world. However, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the projections for this year’s produce season have been completely upended.
Government-mandated health and safety regulations have changed the way we all live and work. This in turn has had considerable effects on many aspects of the freight industry, including produce season. However, since the COVID-19 situation is extremely fluid, it is difficult to predict the outbreak’s full impact on produce season this year.
Usually, the rise in crop volumes during this season causes available truckload capacity to decrease while demand increases, leading to higher rates for shippers who are looking to secure trucks with refrigeration capabilities. But because COVID-19 has severely slowed down business for countless restaurants across the country that usually drive a large portion of truck demand during produce season, we can assume that the demand will be lower than normal this year.
However, recently there has been a spike in rates for shipments coming out of California and Arizona as the season progresses and more produce is being imported into the country. As states begin to reopen restaurants and other businesses, it is important to closely watch how this may impact produce season. The increase in rates in California and Arizona indicate that in the current market, supply and demand are easily disrupted and can cause rapid shifts in shipping costs.
Another aspect that will impact produce season is the weather. During this past winter in the main regions where crops are grown, temperatures were warmer than average, and it rained more than usual. This caused crops to grow especially well, resulting in an abundance of produce that is expected be available throughout the entire season.
Although the outcome of this year’s produce season is unpredictable as the COVID-19 situation is ever-changing, we know that there will be no shortage of produce this summer. However, it remains to be seen exactly how big of an impact the weakened restaurant industry will have on normal produce season truck demand and shipping rates.
At Echo Global Logistics, we remain committed to serving your transportation management needs during these unprecedented times. If you need help navigating this year’s produce season, reach out to our team of logistics experts who will evaluate your unique transportation needs and ensure you get the solutions that are best for you.