Christmas tree complications for trucking capacity

By Don Ehrlich :: December 15, 2017

While CFI doesn’t normally handle the shipments of Christmas trees during the holiday season, we certainly understand the pressure these monolithic decorations put upon the trucking industry. Though most farms work directly with carriers, there are occasions when we’ve had to step in and handle air freight shipments for trees that missed sailings or demands that exceeded planning forecasts. The shipment of live Christmas trees is primarily a domestic market that is served almost exclusively by trucks that are in and out of the Pacific Northwest, known to be the Christmas tree capital, thanks to our vast forests. Single farms can harvest almost a million trees for shipment this time of year and their seasonality makes the timing of arrival crucial to the success of the season for these providers.

Moving other perishable cargo from the Pacific northwest becomes more difficult during the peak holiday season because of the large fleet needed to spread Christmas tree cheer around the world, leaving little space for food and floral cargo that also comes into season at the same time. Frozen cargo also becomes more expensive due to demand on the reefer trucks and brokers can pay a pretty penny to ensure they have space within the tree frenzy.

This peak season has been a banner year for logistics in and of itself as imports skyrocketed, cyber week exceeded expectations, and e-commerce became a holiday juggernaut, breaking records for retail. Air freight rates soared and holiday hiring was beyond what anyone expected as shippers and distribution centers worked to keep up with demand. We’re looking forward to continuing the trend of growth into 2018 and would like to wish all of our customers, coworkers and associates a bountiful holiday season!