North American Produce Transportation Working Group has introduced a document establishing best trucking practices for fresh produce shippers, receivers and carriers, according to a report in The Packer. Best practices documents are available on the group’s website at www.naptwg.org.

“The new guidelines represent an incredible volume of work by industry associations and produce organizations involved in the transport of fresh produce,” David Dever, president & chief executive officer of Bakersfield. California-based Sun World International and chairman of the United Fresh working group, said in a news release. “We all know how crucial ensuring the vitality of our carrier industry is to the long-term viability of the North American produce industry, and this is one tool to support that.”

Best practices will help ensure that carriers are valued, industry leaders said.

“If we don’t all play our part in assisting carriers and making produce a desirable industry to do business in, we could face shortages of carriers in the future,” according to David Owen, president of National Assn. of Small Trucking Companies.

The 25-member group has been working on the best practices document for about two years, according to Dan Vache, vice president for supply chain management for the United Fresh Produce Assn.. He said the working group’s effort was driven by a desire to compile the best resources available for truck drivers.

In addition to offering a comprehensive master document for free access, the group’s website has one-page summary documents that address best practices for shippers, carriers and receivers, Vache said. “We want to eventually have web seminars and keep this more of a live document with updates,” Vache said.

The group also aims to develop best practices for shipping by rail, air shipments, for intermodal and ocean containers.

“We’re going to keep this moving forward to help with the transport of our product,” he said.

Groups that supported and endorsed the best practices document included the Canadian Produce Marketing Assn., the Produce Marketing Assn., Western Growers, the United Fresh Produce Marketing Assn. and other regional produce associations.