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Recent UPS and FedEx shipping restrictions on food?

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    Recent UPS and FedEx shipping restrictions on food?

    The back story --

    My husband grows elderberries. People are wanting him to ship frozen berries across the US. We've been researching the problem of shipping frozen foods and think we have a handle on how to do this properly, but I'm puzzled about a recent kerfluffle between another grower and his prospective customer.

    Apparently UPS or FedEx (not sure which one) recently advised the other grower that UPS/FedEx will not transport a 400+ pound shipment of berries from the Midwest (Minnesota, to be exact) to his buyer on the East Coast.

    There's some confusion in my mind about whether the berries were to be shipped via freight or via regular parcel services. I've done both and know there are differences in what can and can't be done. I'm guessing this shipment, at over 400 lbs, was a freight shipment and it doesn't surprise me that the carrier is refusing this job.

    My DH will be shipping MUCH smaller orders of his berries via regular parcel services.

    But I can't say whether the current restrictions in our country are also having some effect, so I'm curious to learn what y'all might know.

    My question to you folks is this --

    For those of you who have recently ordered frozen meat or other frozen/refrigerated foods from various suppliers (Snake River Farms, etc.), have there been any unusual concerns or restrictions about shipping these products?

    #2
    I've recently got shipments of fresh meat and frozen seafood from different suppliers. Neither order had any restrictions as far as I know of. The total weight of the meat shipment was more. Without packaging it was 45lbs. It was shipped to me in 2 containers.
    So to answer your question I will have to say nope.

    Comment


      #3
      Over the past 2 week I'm have received orders from all the usual meat vendors mentioned here on the site and several seafood vendors in Alaska and Maine. (Fedex and UPS). Not one issue. These all all normal size shipment < 50 lbs. Best to call them directly.

      Comment


      • Donw
        Donw commented
        Editing a comment
        I would add that our company use to ship hazardous materials via UPS. We had to have trained people to package them, deliver them to UPS warehouse directly, and fill out a special hazardous materials log once there. 400+ lbs of perishables will have special handling and packaging requirements and other special procedures that that shipper might not have followed.

      #4
      I think the issue with Fedex and UPS was potentially the fact that it was a single shipment of 400 pounds. If you broke it down into something reasonable like 8 50 pound boxes for shipping, it would likely go smoother. Fedex has a limit of 150 pounds on a shipping container. It probably costs more to split the shipment up, but I imagine that Fedex would take it just fine if packed into smaller amounts.

      I purchase brewing supplies - malted barley, hops, yeast, etc, some of which is perishable and packed with ice (the yeast), and receive shipments over Fedex and UPS just fine.

      Comment


        #5
        I ordered some meat recently from Porter Road with no problems. It was way less than 400lbs though.

        Comment


          #6
          UPS should have a Freight/Logistics division, I know they have one here in Canada although it can be extremely regional.
          The courier I drive for has a Freight/Logistics division that is dedicated to shipments above 100lbs to LTL to TL country wide and into the US.
          It is run completely separate from the Courier division so you will have to look for a separate contact number, I would imagine that it may be the same for UPS in the US.
          Donw comment about perishables is probably spot on.
          I always stayed in the courier division so know very little about the freight division.
          One thing I can say is with Special handling comes Special handling rates too.

          Comment


            #7
            Hey, everyone -- many thanks for your feedback and ideas.

            I agree that asking the source is always a good policy. I'm on the FedEx and UPS email notification system and regularly get bulletins about shipping issues due to unusual circumstances of weather, accident, time of year, etc. Both companies have been silent about any special changes to what they will and won't ship. I've also been on their websites to learn the rules and regs of shipping food.

            I truly believe the other grower ran afoul of normal SOP for freight shipments. I know him a bit, and he's a bit of a space case at the best of times.

            I guarantee if it comes to us ever shipping large quantities of frozen berries, I will learn how to do it right. We're trying to ship 20-40 lb of berries at the moment, so it's a little different situation.

            Comment


            • IowaGirl
              IowaGirl commented
              Editing a comment
              I should also mention I've shipped via UPS and FedEx freight as well as use their regular services all the time. Both companies do handle things differently whether you're shipping freight vs. using courier/package transport. The food ... frozen no less ... is the new part for me.

            #8
            Not sure why UPS wouldn't take if it were broken down into multiple packages, 400 pounds in one 'package' would have to go freight. Perhaps it is the 'frozen' aspect. We don't run reefer units, so if it is quite some distance it won't be frozen when it gets there. I get emails all the time from truck brokers inquiring if I have any produce to ship trying to fill trucks going back. Since I delete them I don't have any to forward, but you friend should be able to find a broker who may be able to put his shipment into a cold van.

            Comment


            • IowaGirl
              IowaGirl commented
              Editing a comment
              I'm pretty sure the other grower was trying to ship all the frozen berries in one 400 lb shipment. I agree with you and JFMorris about dividing it into smaller packages and shipping that way -- might be a better way to go in a pinch. Even better would be for to connect with the the refrigerated trucking industry. Or if possible sell local so this isn't an issue.

            • ComfortablyNumb
              ComfortablyNumb commented
              Editing a comment
              IowaGirl Shipping is going to be cost prohibitive if not in a reefer. It would have to be packed in insulated boxes and expedited. Even at that it could arrive thawed.

            #9
            I just received a shipment of wine today via UPS. Sadly it was far less than 400 pounds.

            Comment


              #10
              The order of yeast from K.A. arriving tommorow via FEDEX. Ordered another case of wine from Wineinsiders.com today. They said might be some delay. What I did notice they are out of ALOT of inventory I normally order. I do at least a case a month.

              What freaked me out that liquor stores might be closed and their inventory is being wiped out (excuse the similarities to TP). So I'm heading to my local store tommorow and hoarding like it's the end of the world. And it would be for me without ample supply of libations.

              Comment


                #11
                IowaGirl I just got an email from American Logistics Group offering reefers and vans for nationwide shipping. The logistics manager is Jazz Lawson and his direct line is 516-543-3134. This is not an endorsement from me, it was an unsolicited email and I have no experience with them.

                Comment


                • IowaGirl
                  IowaGirl commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Thanks! I'll pass this information along to the other grower. My hubby's operation is too small to justify shipping by reefers. Maybe someday!

                  Our local UPS guy stopped by today with a delivery and hubby asked him about shipping cold/frozen foods. Driver said no problemo, although UPS won't guarantee the contents will be frozen when delivered. But they'd be fine shipping it. I can live with that.

                • ComfortablyNumb
                  ComfortablyNumb commented
                  Editing a comment
                  IowaGirl Packages spend 99% of their trip in a trailer parked outside. So winter time, probably not a big deal. Summer time, not the best idea. I've delivered frozen salmon from Alaska. It was shipped overnight expre$$ and packed in heavy styrofoam boxes packed in heavy cardboard boxes.

                  BTW, those carriers do LTL (less than load) which means your product is loaded on a trailer with others.

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