Pallet Shortage Will Continue, Maybe Into June

As we reported two weeks ago, the country is experiencing a historic shortage of pallets that is causing the cancellation of some deliveries to growers & shippers.  There is much confusion and angst surrounding this very significant issue, with cancellations, panic and anger all mixed together.  It is possibly the most significant (and threatening) issue that we have ever seen.   

CHEP indicated to us that this issue is ‘not’ just one industry (i.e. watermelon or any other F&V crop), but rather spread across all industries and the entire country.  They have completely cut off their winter storage program and are shutting down their supply to companies that are either in arrears with their accounts and/or are normally ‘shoppers’ of pallets.  It was confirmed to me yesterday that they are ‘allocating’ pallets to their customers based on the available inventory in each area and are communicating regularly with them.  Additionally, they are accepting no new customers during this troubling period. 

They have talked with retailers and alerted them to the situation, and asked for all used pallets to be released back into the supply chain.  No industry or grower or shipper is immune to this.  It is effecting everyone in the pallet-using business. Although the indication is that this situation could extend into June, more of the country is reopening from the shutdown period, which should loosen up the pallet situation from hoarder-buying and other COVID-19 purchasing effects.  Let us hope (and pray) that it loosens up much earlier than that prediction.         

We reached out to our friends at 48forty, the largest white-board provider in the USA, and confirmed  the same difficult situation there.  No new customers can be accepted, and they are doing their best to supply their customers as best they can.  They too are short and may not be in a position to lend a helping hand.  The effects of COVID-19 on so many facets of our daily lives is truly making a huge & loud statement and challenging our efforts and your needs. CHEP indicated that you may be able to help them by ‘verifying’ the accuracy of your orders for this season, especially for the next few months.  We are not sure how much that will help, but anything might at this point.   

It has been reported that there are sheds with truckloads of pallets in states that will not be in production for 2-4 months.  And yes, that is true.  We were told that those pallets are part of the winter storage program (which has been cut off due to this situation).  Those pallets are paid for and will remain in the ‘custody’ of the grower/shipper that stores them (until they are used).  CHEP ‘cannot’ relocate or reallocate those pallets.  FYI.   They (CHEP) released a communication to their customers (yesterday) which touches on the higher points of the issue.  You can read it HERE, if you wish         

Where this very difficult situation will lead us is very unpredictable.  We will keep our regular contacts with CHEP, 48forty and any others (that will talk with us), while we keep you alerted of any solutions that may arise.  We very much look forward to the coming day when the supply loosens up, and we can return to some type of order in the business.  We’re heavily engaged and trying to help any way that we can.  Stay tuned, and stay strong. 


SAVE THE DATES:  The NWA 2022 Convention is a ‘GO’ in NYC!!! 

You may read or hear the media reports about business, landlords and other catchy news reports about New York City, but be rest assured ….. the National Watermelon Association (NWA) is planning to hold the next national convention in the heart of Times Square – New York City from February 21-27, 2022! 

Our hosts (the Marriott Marquis) are excited to greet you to their beautiful facility in the greatest city in the world – New York. The NWA has been and remains in constant contact with the Marriott Marquis (and NYC officials), and remains confident that nationals will happen as scheduled. 

You can expect a pent-up atmosphere (and excitement) as a result of this year’s convention cancellation. We will bring you some new tidbits and announcements along the way.  Save the Dates, and stay tuned for new information in a few months.  


In Loving Memory of Wanda Letson

It is with heavy hearts and much sadness we say goodbye to such a great friend of ours, Wanda Letson. Wanda was a devoted mother of 2, grandmother of 3 and great-grandmother of 2, who dearly loved her family.
Wanda was the Secretary, Treasurer and Queen Coordinator for the Texas Watermelon Association, which she started her journey in 1986 and retired in 2012. She was straightforward and witty, never beat around the bush, one of a kind, tough, what you see is what you get, kind of lady. Wanda was dedicated to the watermelon industry and her friends. She was loved by everybody.  

One of Wanda’s funny sayings was She always referred to “Central time as Texas Time”. There are so many laughs and so many memories of our friend. We are sure that so many of you have your own funny stories and memories of Wanda.
We need to never forget these memories of her. Wanda will be truly missed by so many. We look forward to the day we meet again our dear friend.

God Speed.

“Those we love don’t go away,
They walk beside us every day,
Unseen, unheard, but always near,
Still loved, still missed and very dear.



Warriors for Freedom and Heart of a Lion

As we have all faced many difficult challenges throughout the past year, one group that seems to have been hit harder during the pandemic has been our veterans.  They have come home from serving and are often isolated due to their experiences.  They have sacrificed and served to protect all our families and our nation.  They have faced countless unknowns every day to support you and me. 
One way that we can thank them for all that they have sacrificed is by donating to this cause.  They offer many Veteran Programs, as well as support programs for not only veterans but for active-duty men and women as well.  For example, with their peer-to-peer support program, they are making a positive impact in the lives of these veterans and active-duty men and women.  Will you consider donating today so that they can continue programs like this and many more for our veterans and active-duty service men and women?  Please reach out to Monica at [email protected] or by calling her at the office (863) 619-7575.  She will be able to help you with making your donation.

A National Lumber Shortage is Disrupting Pallet Markets
- - Do You Have A Backup Plan? - -

The coronavirus pandemic has caused significant shifts throughout the supply chain that have affected almost every part of our daily lives.  Included in that change is the lumber market, which is scrambling to meet the needs of their customers.  With home building at its peak with tremendous lumber demands, wood has become a premium.  Some major retailers are building and retaining their pallet inventories to handle their own needs (for packaged goods), which is creating significant voids within the ‘normal’ pallet supply chain.  All of this (and more) is keeping suppliers up at night trying to secure resources to meet their customers’ needs.
CHEP is the largest pallet provider in the USA, and they (like the entire pallet industry) are experiencing shortages in pockets as a result of the numerous shifts in the lumber industry.  After talking with them, we have been assured that they are doing all that they can to meet your orders.  However, CHEP and the NWA are recommending that (no matter who your pallet provider may be) it ‘may’ be in your best interest to have a ‘backup’ plan in case your current provider cannot fully meet your needs. 
We have become aware of a couple of instances where orders have been cancelled recently due to this major challenge.  No one has a crystal ball to predict what the upcoming months may bring.  We know and trust that CHEP and other NWA members are working hard to fill those orders, but in this environment there are no guarantees.  In the current pandemic environment and all of its resulting changes, it would be best to have a backup, just in case. 

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