QUINCY, Wash. — A new company helping shippers consolidate truckloads of fruit and produce heading cross country has purchased 18 acres for expansion at the Port of Quincy for about $1 million.
Diamond Logistics Northwest, a subsidiary of Double Diamond Fruit Co., Quincy, provides Central Washington tree fruit shippers with a central location close to Interstate 90 to consolidate truckloads of apples and other produce for long-distance travel, said Warren Morgan, president of both companies.
The need for such a facility may soon increase because of new federal regulations, he said. Hours truck drivers work in a week will be reduced — 10 hours of rest must follow every 11 hours of work, and downtime at loading docks no longer will be counted as rest, he said.
All of that along with a scarcity of trucks and drivers at certain times of the year means trucks need to be loaded more efficiently, Morgan said.
A lot of trucks hauling apples eastward are loaded at one location but some haul loads from several companies, Morgan said. It can be more efficient for loads to be consolidated at one point than having a truck travel from shipper to shipper to collect a load, he said.
At Diamond Logistics, boxes of fruit can be cold-stored temporarily — usually no more than a few hours — awaiting trucks. It is “critically important for quality and food safety” to maintain the cold chain when handling perishable products, Morgan said.
For the past six months, Diamond Logistics has been providing cross-dock and load consolidation services to Cold Train, a cross-country refrigerated rail service with facilities in Quincy. Many Cold Train customers had been requesting such services, said Steve Lawson, president of Cold Train.
Diamond Logistics uses a 15,000-square-foot refrigerated warehouse north of Quincy but will build 20,000-square-feet of refrigerated space in the first of four potential phases of its new facility, Morgan said. The first phase will be built in the next 18 months.
The site is in the Port of Quincy’s Industrial Park No. 6 next to a new Amway plant, which will open next year to manufacture Nutrilite botanical concentrate.
Curt Morris, president of the Port of Quincy Commission, said he knows of no one else providing load consolidation for the tree fruit industry in Central Washington. The ultimate size of the facility will depend, Morris said, on how much business the new venture gets.
Morris said the Port of Quincy is continuing to grow as a central distribution hub for all sorts of commodities. The port has room to expand and is working on getting tree fruit companies to build new packing facilities there, he said.