Stemilt Growers introduces transportation service

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Stemilt Growers has added transportation support to its menu of services. Transportation specialist Earl Kollock, who has joined the Stemilt sales team to lead the company’s first-ever transportation department, will coordinate the booking of truck and rail services, according to Mike Taylor, vice president of sales and marketing for the Wenatchee, Wash.-based company.

Kollock, an 18-year veteran of the freight brokerage industry, is the former owner-operator of Service Lines, a Seattle-based trucking company. He also worked from 1997 to 2005 as a transportation analyst in Seattle for Food Services of America.

Taylor says truck scarcity, driver shortages and expensive fuel prices have resulted in freight cost increases that he believes will likely be part of the transportation environment for years to come. Kollock’s mission will be to focus on developing partnerships with carriers that will reduce costs and improve services for Stemilt and its customers.

Stemilt’s records show the tree fruit grower-packer-shipper used as many as 2,800 different carriers last year to move packed fruits across the nation. Kollock says he believes that number can be reduced, improving the level of service to both the customer and the carrier. To that end, Kollock says he will seek out planned business with a select number of carriers that will agree to dedicate equipment in volume to Stemilt. Kollock says more consistent rates and truck availability will lead to more efficiency and reduced costs.

Another tactic Kollock says he’ll use will be to automate processes by using GPS to track shipments. In addition, Kollock plans to develop an in-house program to follow all costs associated with using each different carrier. “My goal is to break down barriers with transportation companies to achieve the best possible service for our customers,” he says.