Dear Customer,

We are aware that many of you are experiencing late appointment scheduling, missed pick-ups and deliveries, which is out of the norm for us here at Northern Refrigerated Transportation. We want to assure you we are doing everything in our power to correct that as soon as we possibly can. Part of our commitment to “Service is the Difference” is to ensure we are keeping you informed on what is going on in the industry and in our company. Please see below for some information and insights.

  1. With states and counties opening up foodservice for dining in again, the volume of not only foodservice distributors but shippers and manufacturers who supply these distributors has more than doubled overnight with little to no advance notice.
  2. There is a severe driver shortage in the industry. With the added volume here at Northern we are also short drivers to cover the volume. We have had multiple meetings this week with our owners and managers and are working on multiple initiatives to add drivers to meet the demand. I spoke with a friend who is an executive for a national foodservice company this morning and before I told him anything about our situation, he started telling me how they were over 100 drivers short on the West Coast to cover their volume. This is common in all modes of transportation right now.
  3. Dock staffing is a challenge because many potential dock workers are making more money collecting stimulus-aided unemployment than they would taking a dock job.
  4. COVID protocols for most Shippers and Receivers require that they do not allow outside drivers on the docks. This means our drivers cannot tag the freight and it has to be received by our dock personnel which results in double the time of normal dock receiving.
  5. These same Shippers and Receivers are experiencing a volume surge and dock worker shortages, so the average time to complete a pick up or delivery has increased dramatically.
    1. This has also resulted in their appointment availability being reduced because they are short staffed and overbooked due to the volume which results in appointments being pushed out.

As you can see, this has created “The Perfect Storm” and has the entire food supply chain scrambling and overwhelmed. As our customers, you trust and pay us to figure these challenges out and we are up to the task. As previously stated, we already have implemented multiple approaches for addressing these challenges. Integrity is at the core of our company. To live to that it requires transparency. That is the purpose of this email. These are facts, not excuses. We own our diminished service levels over the last couple weeks and will solve them. However, it likely will take a few weeks and not happen as quickly as any of us wish.

We sincerely appreciate your loyalty and patience. Our focus and commitment is to provide dependable service and communication. We are committed to investing what is needed to meet your needs. Please feel free to contact me, your CSR or salesperson if you have any questions.


Dave Bates

Director of Sales