Not all seeds are created equal, especially in the rapidly advancing world of “bio/agri-technology”. Seed companies are developing strains that cater to the “end-user” requirements – one strain of corn that is grown solely for oil, another strain of corn solely for sugar. But what’s really driving this diversification? And how will the transportation industry be effected?
As humans and science struggle to keep up with the increasing sustenance demands of an ever- growing global population, trucking for biotech companies becomes an important niche market in the worldwide logistics industry. According to the USDA, “widespread acceptance of specialty grains and oilseeds is dependent upon the ability of the handling and transportation system to deliver these crops to end users in consistent volumes.” Apparently, these new strains of “biotech” seeds have more uniquely sensitive transportation requirements than standard agricultural products. But is this really a viable approach?
Let’s look at the world’s largest crop: corn. According to the Earth Policy Institute, the US is one of the largest producers of corn, and corn is one of the few crops wherein consumption continually outpaces production, both domestically and abroad. Millions of tons of corn are harvested annually from the mid-west United States, trucked to both the east and west coasts, and then shipped, via containers, overseas. And yet, the USDA is calling for specialty crops to be located closer to the end-user’s market to curtail specialty transportation costs.
What does that really mean? Specialty crops are not viable for international export, so they will require only short-haul trucking. The USDA remains unclear about what transportation specifications the new seeds will require – perhaps because the technology is still so new. As such, basic logic would concede that advancements in biotechnology should not outpace the transportation capabilities on which they rely. That would be putting the proverbially cart before the horse.
On the other hand, it is a fact that one-third of US corn production goes directly to a refinery for production of ethanol. If an oilseed crop was located near a refinery, the specialty seeds could be processed quickly garnering a product that is more stable for standard transportation.
Either way, transportation is a serious consideration for biotech companies. Timing is critical not only for contract fulfillment but for the sensitive nature of biological goods, specifically those with a short-lived expiration date. At First Call Trucking, we know all about the safe and fast handling of time sensitive materials from factory to truck to dock, up and down the Atlantic coast and across the country.
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