Refer Truck, Rail Shortage Hurting Industry

Published online: Nov 19, 2004
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A shortage of referigerated truck and rail cars to ship potatoes to markets is having a serious affect on the industry at the start of the '04-'05 marketing season.

According to a report in the Northern Plains Potato Growers' newsletter, an estimate has been made that the Red River Valley could use 100 more trucks a week.

The Valley is reportedly running ahead of last year in sales and demand is reported to be "good" for fresh red potatoes.

Other potato growing areas have also been caught short of truck haulers and rail cars. The Pacific Northwest has not only had a hard time lining up truckers, but also rail refer cars. Union Pacific blames the shortage on logistics of locating their refer fleets in the correct distribution channels at the right time and also training of railroad workers to run the system.

At the recent PMA meeting, both truck and rail representatives reported that the economics of doing business--higher insurance, fuel and labor rates--is having a great impact on the shipping industry.