Produce Packers Warn of Supply Chain Issues

Nov. 29, 2021
The situation with the supply chain for fresh produce is dire, according to an open letter from produce trade organizations.

The situation with the supply chain for fresh produce is dire, with the potential to “create long lasting impacts to the detriment of all North American economies,” according to an open letter from produce trade organizations.

The statement was signed by 19 regional organizations in the U.S. and Canada, including United Fresh Produce Association. It lays out the difficulties that are particular to fresh produce.

These include port congestion and “delays and exploding costs” in container shipping, with the costs of containers rising from $3,000 to as high as $25,000. The number of shippers who accept perishable goods is already limited, and one of the largest has announced that it will no longer carry them.

Other problems referred to in the letter include labor issues, especially in trucking, and materials shortages, including a lumber shortage that drove pallet prices up nearly 350%, and “massive increases in the price of cartons.”

The statement calls for “our governments to work together to address these issues in a multi-lateral and holistic manner” and concludes: “Time is against us, and the necessity of addressing these challenges now cannot be understated.”

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