Philly trade feels freight pinch

by Tad Thompson | June 24, 2010
Chip Wiechec shook his head in exasperation as he sat at his desk at the Philadelphia Regional Produce Market. The owner of Hunter Bros. Inc. observed that he was paying a California Romaine shipper $6 per box, f.o.b. The trucker was charging $8.25 per box to deliver the Romaine to the Hunter Bros. dock.

"It costs me $14.25 delivered. God forbid, then, that it's out of grade. It sounds expensive at $16-$17, but the margins are nothing and the grower’s not making money," Mr. Wiechec noted, as he cited other similar examples in mid-June.

Mark Scintella, a buyer and salesman for Nardella Inc. on the Philadelphia market, said he was paying $6,500 to $7,000 for trucks out of Nogales, AZ, and $7,000 to $8,000 for trucks from California. On June 18 he noted, “Last week was even higher.”