Watermelons and Their Effect on Lumber Prices

May 13, 2014

Sometimes seasonal events and seemingly unrelated industries can have an adverse affect on our profession. Case in point, watermelons and produce from southern states can have a drastic affect on the price and availability of lumber moving to the northern part of the country. Sounds a bit unbelievable but it’s true.

In the spring, when produce is ready to be shipped to market, growers do not have the luxury of finding the most economical rate for a truck. Due to extremely limited availability, they must pay what the market will bear or lose their crop. The result is that loads of lumber that do not pay what produce does, are bypassed by truckers trying to maximize their profits. Companies that have developed their business to operate on just in time delivery are often hard pressed to maintain adequate supplies of raw materials during this time of the year. The trucking industry unfortunately is not what it used to be. There are roughly 25,000 unfilled truck driving positions in the U.S. This number will increase over time as drivers retire and are not replaced. The result will be greater difficulty in finding trucks and when they are able to move a load, the prices will be substantially higher. This all affects what manufacturers are able to charge for their product.

One way to stay ahead of this trend is to make arrangements as soon as possible to ensure you have a firm commitment with your shipping partners to receive raw materials in a timely fashion. To further assist with the freight issue, we have a special program with CH Robinson Company, one of the largest movers of freight in the world. This program helps members with both LTL and flatbed shipments to arrive within a reasonable time frame and as economical as possible.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact Philip Bibeau at WPMA 978-874-5445 for more information.

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