The Logistics of the (Easter) Egg

I don’t know about you, but for me, the very minute that Winter Solstice begins, I am counting the days until Spring begins! Spring brings warmer temperatures, fresh blossoms and…the Easter Bunny with lots of brightly-colored boiled eggs! YUM!

As I often do, I began to wonder how all those fragile eggs are transported without LOTS of cracking. Sure enough, an amazing system is in place JUST for EGGS, thanks to some very interesting inventions and MANY talented logistics agents, carriers and drivers!

 It turns out that eggs are BIG BUSINESS, even after the Easter Bunny has gone back down the rabbit hole.

What does this business look like once logistics is involved?  

There are very strict rules in place for the transportation of human grade food, and shell eggs are certainly no exception. According to Egg Safety, vehicles transporting food must be dedicated to only transporting food, per federal law which states:

  • Shell eggs packed for consumers must be stored and transported under refrigeration at an ambient air temperature not to exceed 45° F.         
  • All packed shell eggs must be labeled with a statement that refrigeration is required.
  • Any shell eggs imported into the United States and packed for consumer use are to include certification that they have been stored and transported at an ambient temperature of no greater than 45° F.   

To begin their journey, they start at the “layer farm” where the eggs of laying hens are collected and placed in specially-created plastic trays. Those can then be layered and stacked on purpose-built pallets to keep the shells intact across hundreds and hundreds of miles.

Next, they are loaded into shipping containers dedicated solely to the very careful transportation of fragile eggs.  A single 40-high cube container can transport over 1,500,000 (yes, 1-1/2 MILLION) eggs! Pray that driver doesn’t have an accident along the way!

Then, the eggs make their way to a packaging facility where they are placed into trays for the supermarket. There they complete the final leg in their cozy 6, 12, 18 or 36-count trays to the store for consumer purchase.  {The Easter Bunny has his own private delivery.}

It’s easy to see that without highly-specialized inventions such as crushproof trays and pallets, without transportation systems created just for eggs, and without highly-trained, careful and cautious drivers operating perfectly-regulated refrigerator trucks, we wouldn’t be enjoying a delicious over-medium with a side of toast, or beautifully-colored eggs on Easter morning.

Yet another reason to say “THANK YOU!” to all those who make logistics WORK! Happy Spring!!!

Infograph via American Egg Board

The Logistics of Guinness Beer

The Logistics of Guinness Beer

We’ve all heard the phrase “the luck of the Irish,” and of one thing there is no doubt, they are lucky to have Guinness as their “unofficial” national beer! Have you ever thought about the logistics of Guinness?

Guinness is loved around the world that it’s been a staple at every St. Patrick’s Day celebration since Arthur Guinness set up his brewery in 1759.

More than 33 million revelers around the world participate in St. Patrick’s Day festivities each year. That equals more than 13 million pints of Guinness beer consumed on March 17 alone!

With St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner, Guinness will be delivered and enjoyed in 150 countries around the globe. That’s a tall logistics order!

Just a wee bit of history…

Way back in 1759, Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000-year lease on a defunct brewery at St. James’s Gate, Dublin for an annual rent of £45. That’s just under $64 by today’s standards.

Just one decade later, the first export shipment of six and a half barrels of Guinness beer left Dublin on a sailing vessel bound for England.

On October 16th, 1817, the very first Guinness shipped to the United States, from Dublin to South Carolina by sea, in just eight barrels. And so the American love affair with this hearty, foamy pint began.

In the beginning, the complexity of the logistics caused problems.

The multiple steps in the beer’s journey to the U.S. market—with numerous handoffs between different responsible parties —was compounded by the inherently unpredictable nature of ocean transport.

Certain shipping lines performed better than others. The price of oil affected how fast the vessels moved across the Atlantic. Weather helped or hinder vessel movement, and even the time of year caused variability in crossing times.

Things simply went wrong. A container might not get down to the quay in time to meet the feeder vessel sailing. The feeder vessel could be delayed or canceled due to bad weather.

It would arrive at the deep sea port in time, but not get in and offloaded in time to meet the deep sea vessel.

The deep sea vessel might be running late itself or do a “port skip,” missing a port to get back on schedule. That the beer literally missed the boat.

Where are they now? Logistics wise…

“Guinness beer destined for the corner pub on Main Street, U.S.A. leaves the Dublin brewery in kegs that are then loaded into 40-foot containers, which are loaded onto trucks that drive to Dublin Port, where the containers are offloaded into a customs bay before being moved into a holding pen. From there, the containers are loaded onto a feeder ship that sails from the shallow Dublin Port to a deep-sea ocean port (Amsterdam or Southampton, for example, or even Liverpool) and offloads the beer into a holding area until the arrival of the ocean vessel. The ocean vessel takes the containerized beer across the Atlantic to, first, New York, followed by port calls in Norfolk, Charleston, Houston and, finally, Los Angeles.  In port, the containers are offloaded, taken through customs, then picked up and delivered to a Diageo company warehouse. Transit times, gate-to-gate, range from about 21 days to New York, up to 33-36 days for Los Angeles, depending on which of several different carriers is transporting the beer, weather, time of year and other factors — when everything goes right.”

That’s quite a journey, just so we Americans can enjoy pints of frothy dark deliciousness!

Bottoms up, and cheers to Guinness!  Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!!

The Logistics of The Long-Stemmed Rose

The Logistics of The Long-Stemmed Rose

Ah, Valentine’s Day is coming.

The most romantic holiday of all, at least for the 55% of Americans who actually celebrate it. Though nearly half of us DON’T participate in a meaningful way, those who do, apparently do it up BIG.

According to Forbes Magazine, consumer spending on Valentine’s Day is third only to Christmas and Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day comes in around $23.5 billion and Valentine’s Day is not far behind at just under $20 billion. (Yes, BILLION. On Valentine’s Day. WOW.)

What are these spenders buying?

According to the National Retail Federation, on Valentine’s Day in 2017 almost $2,000,000,000 (that’s 2 BILLION!) was spent on flowers alone!

That is A LOT of flowers – and an upwards of 250 MILLION roses alone! But that’s really no big surprise, as the classic red rose is as much a part of Valentine’s Day as a chubby-cheeked cherub.

Yet, when that gorgeous dozen (or two!) arrives, fresh and flawless, most people don’t think twice about where they started and how they arrived. Their attention is on the flower’s perfect beauty and of course, their admirer.

So, from where will your rose start its journey this year?

While it’s not surprising that so many flowers are sent on Valentine’s Day, it may come as a surprise that almost all of the long-stemmed roses sold in the United States come from South America. Most of those roses come from Columbia and Ecuador. It is known that some of the world’s finest coffee grows exceedingly well there, and this same climate produces millions of the finest flowers as well.

Did you know: roses grow perfectly straight only near the equator, where the sun shines perpendicular to the plants. How cool is that?

Now that we’ve sourced the roses, how do they get from hot and humid South America to points across the United States before they bloom, wilt and die? To waste the life of a long-stemmed rose otherwise destined for greatness in her eyes would be tragic!!

Talk about time-sensitive, fragile freight!

It’s a big-time logistical challenge with a 10-12 day “make or break” window to go from harvest in South America to a vase somewhere near you. It goes without saying that fresh roses must not arrive too early and be opened too soon. Or even worse, turn brown in the days leading up to this most romantic holiday.

It’s such a perfect balance of the rose’s transition from life to death and the truck, trains, and planes that deliver this annual delight is critical. That only is achieved through the most rigorous logistics standards and reliable equipment.

An exacting refrigeration “cold chain” is a must. It ensures the flowers remain “dormant” in bud-status past the initial delivery to wholesalers. The woody perennial flowering plant of the genus Rosa, in the family Rosaceae, must then remain in its suspended state long enough to make it to the retailers. Then to the homes and offices of their adoring fans everywhere.

The most classic presentation of the long-stemmed rose is, after all, a tightly-closed bud that will open gradually after reaching its final destination.

So what does the journey of a long-stemmed rose look like, through the experienced eye of the billion-dollar floral industry?

As you can see, it is an amazing journey that long-stemmed roses take, from the first fields to their final stop.

The next time you buy or receive a beautiful bouquet, take a moment to say “THANK YOU!” to the international team of transportation and logistics men and women who make it happen!

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!


Thanks to C.H. Robinson for the infographic. 


Leveraging AGX for your success in 2018

When the month of January rolls around, it’s time for everyone to take a look at what worked and what didn’t. If you’re struggling to find a company that can help you achieve those missed 2017 opportunities, we invite you to see how AGX Freight goals for 2018 can help get you there, faster.

If you’re reading this, thank you. We know your time is precious. 2017 was a challenging year, but if you were positioned with the right company, you probably did well.

However, if you struggled and felt like you didn’t have the tools or support to grab the opportunities that came your way, now is the best time to take a long hard look and assess your current situation. 2018 looks like more of the same – increasing freight demand and tight capacity.

Don’t let disappointments from last year spill into the new year. Change is always tough until the benefits of change are realized, then it’s “why did I wait so long?”

We invite you to take a look at AGX Freight Group.

At your convenience, pick a day and time you’re available to talk. Let’s spend 15 minutes dreaming big and exploring how AGX does it better than the competition. We want to hear your story and where you want to take your business.

Sure, we’ll brag about our brand and describe how it is built by the best, for the best, because it is. The foundation of our “corporate culture” is a deep appreciation for your talents and results, and our compensation model rewards your success in real time, as you achieve.

In conclusion, we have leveraged our years of experience, knowledge, and understanding of the freight transportation industry to formulate an opportunity you simply need to hear, and then decide if it fits for you.