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Keeping Freight Costs Down for Members

December 11, 2017

We checked twice, and our Farm to Family team is definitely on the nice list this year! They have worked hard to keep freight costs down for our food banks, in the face of multiple challenges:

  • Upcoming change to state/federal laws that will require drivers to electronically log their routes
  • A week-long strike in October protesting the e-logs
  • Shortage of drivers caused by the following:
    • Hurricanes: drivers could make big money delivering retail items to Florida and Texas
    • Christmas tree season: drivers can make top dollar
    • Religious holidays

    To provide the best rates, Farm to Family Associate Director Charisse Ross has negotiated with multiple carriers, adding five more to our list. After surveying our network, she found another nine or so options to review.

    Every day is different, so each morning Charisse and Logistics Administrator Brian Taglang meet to analyze the most urgent orders. For instance, a food bank that misses a route one week will be prioritized the next week. Charisse has regular conversations with carriers to see how many trucks can cover which areas. Farm to Family Assistant Kate Haefke then works with the shippers to coordinate the loads. Produce loads coming from the Pacific Northwest are currently the most difficult, thanks to Christmas tree deliveries. Recently Kate has been working to get extra loads from other areas to Southern California for more affordable freight options. In addition, the team works to consolidate and reroute to avoid four-drop loads, which are hard to cover.

    “We’ve been thinking outside the box so much, there isn’t even a box anymore. We are searching for any creative measures to get food to our members,” said Charisse.

    The Farm to Family team would like to thank our food banks for being flexible about what days they receive loads. Having the option of delivering later in the week can often lead to better prices. We also thank our carriers for always working to give us the best rate possible, since they realize the importance of our mission to bring healthy food to those in need.

    Trucking images courtesy of Pacheco Trucking

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