Frozen potatoes

potatoesEffective intermodal solution to transport unusual cargo

Moving a million cases of frozen potatoes 1,800 miles from the north of USA to Mexico on behalf of a major household name provided an interesting, out of the ordinary challenge for the CEVA team in the United States.

If you’re used to shipping frozen foods, you’ll know that deliveries would normally be undertaken with a refrigerated truck; but the distances and volumes involved in this assignment made trucks an impractical option. So CEVA needed to do some creative thinking to devise an innovative solution to meet the customer’s needs.

Alternative modes of transport were also looking problematic, as the Union Pacific Railroad (which serves Mexico from the USA) doesn’t allow its refrigerated railcars to enter Mexico.

Step up the CEVA Global Account team. Undaunted by the size of the challenge, they set about finding  a practical answer which would not only work in this instance, but could be adapted to suit other customers’ similar requests in the future.

Their answer was distinctly intermodal - still utilizing refrigerated railcars for much of the journey (Oregon to the US border) in order to meet the customer’s strict cost targets. But CEVA also set up and deployed an intermodal interchange facility in Texas (southern USA), to transfer cargo onto refrigerated road vehicles – still keeping the potatoes at 0° -  for the final leg of the journey across the Mexican border and on to the final destination.

The cross-dock transfer operation is massive: each railcar of frozen potatoes fills four 53 foot reefer trucks. As each truck departs, the team in Texas advises the receiving warehouse that the cargo is en route, and arranges delivery slots. Meanwhile the customer has full visibility of stock movements through an automated tracking report.

Developing new, bespoke, effective intermodal solutions like this one is just one of the many ways CEVA and its customers grow their businesses together.