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4th of July Logistics Ties

June 29, 2023 Kevin Baxter

July 4th

The 4th of July of course marks Independence Day in the U.S., and this summer holiday has plenty of logistics ties to consider. For one, July 4th is often looked upon as the denouement or climax of produce shipping season. For another, there's traditionally been a notable uptick in cargo theft during Independence Day week. And finally, there's the unique nature of the holiday falling on whatever day of the week the 4th shows up on the calendar, leading often to a midweek day off (like this year), which can disrupt trucking and delivery routines. Let's take a closer look at each of these 4th of July logistics ties.

The End of Produce Season

Produce season traditionally begins in late winter or early spring and continues along based on crop growth that's staggered across different climates. Farm-produced crops are at their top level of production during this period, and thus, there's a need to transport them in real-time to ensure they arrive to consumers at peak freshness. That means an annual uptick in overall freight volume and - especially in years with tight capacity - effects on freight rates and transportation (especially temperature-controlled) availability.

So how does it tie into Independence Day? Much of produce season's associated fresh food freight volume builds to a crescendo of cookouts amongst the fireworks (as well as much of that initial harvest wrapping up). While 4th of July grillers don't focus their spending solely on produce (hat-tip to hamburgers, hot dogs and cold beverages), Americans in 2022 spent $11.6 billion on their celebratory cookouts. That number was up 23% over an eight year period. We took a closer look at shipping produce and where this season stacked up on Episode 12 of our podcast.

Cargo Theft

Another - less good - tradition around Independence Day is an uptick in cargo theft. Cargo theft prevention and recovery network CargoNet says it sees a rise in theft incident reports each year during the week surrounding the holiday. Over the past five July 4th holiday weeks, there were 114 incidents reported adding up to a total of $5.5 million worth of freight lost. The top targeted commodities were household goods, food and beverage and electronics, with the top targeted states being Texas, California, Florida and Tennessee.

Why the uptick? A combination of typically increased shipments of desirable goods and lighter staffing certainly plays a part. The most common version of cargo theft occurs when vehicles or shipments are stationary, at large retail parking lots and truck stops - but warehouses have been targeted, too. There are a few obvious steps freight and logistics pros can take to make theft harder, including the use of high-security locks, shipment tracking technology and secured parking. Additionally, vigilance among brokers, carriers and shippers is a must, as scams are often on the rise as well.

Midweek Holidays

In 2023, July 4th falls on a Tuesday, and unlike many holidays, it follows wherever the 4th drops on the calendar. Instead of the more predictable four-day week that comes with Monday or Friday observances, many businesses will be dealing with odd schedules throughout the week. That means there may be fewer employees on duty each day, and thus fewer people available to help coordinate and take deliveries (and fewer to notice suspicious activities - see above). And additionally, for truck drivers in particular, a normal Tuesday on the road could turn out not so normal, with an influx of people traveling to holiday gatherings - and another influx traveling (hopefully not inebriated) from them.

Looking for help planning your shipments around holidays - or every days? Let us know and we can work on solutions tailored to your business needs. For more information about InTek, or logistics and supply chain issues in general, check out our Freight Guides.

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