It’s the Great Pumpkin (shortage); shippers near end of challenging season

Date: Tuesday, October 19, 2021
Source: Freightwaves

Pumpkin growers across the U.S. have dealt with everything from invasive fungus to extreme weather to supply chain issues leading up to Halloween this year.

John Hamby, co-owner of Pumpkin Patch Fundraisers Inc., said finding trucking capacity has been a huge struggle this season.

“We started shipping around the 15th of September. The whole season, we’ve been 40 to 50 loads behind schedule because the trucks just weren’t out there,” Hamby told FreightWaves.

Pumpkin Patch Fundraisers Inc. is based in Greensboro, North Carolina, and operates a pumpkin farm in Farmington, New Mexico.

The company ships millions of pumpkins every year to organizations in more than 40 states, including churches and other nonprofits. Pumpkin Patch Fundraisers was founded by Hamby’s parents, Richard and Janice.

“We do face unique challenges in that we ship from a kind of a remote area where there’s not a lot of freight nearby. We’re in a situation where trucks are deadheading a long distance,” Hamby said.

He said trucks often have to deadhead from Phoenix or Albuquerque, New Mexico, to pick up loads at the pumpkin patch in Farmington.

This year’s lack of trucking capacity, coupled with higher rates, caused some delays in getting shipments out.

“It has been extremely challenging; it’s definitely hurt us this year. We’re trying to ship 50 or 60 loads a day out of a remote area so getting that many trucks here, we’re competing with other growers and whoever else is shipping out of Mexico,” Hamby said.

He said there has also been a critical shortage of boxes and pallets.

“It’s been challenging to source pallets and cardboard. Cardboard boxes have been very, very difficult,” Hamby said.

He and his organization are not alone. Weather conditions, invasive fungus and supply chain issues have also affected growers in Texas and Illinois.

[Read from the original source.]