Thomas Hartley is worried that workers are not getting a fair wage but he’s not talking about origin.
Hartley, president of Hartley Transportation, a New Hampshire trucking firm that moves a lot of coffee, is concerned about drivers in the U.S.
“The current driver shortage is now at a critical stage with a deficit of some 30,000 drivers,” explains Hartley. The shortfall is a result of stagnant and in some cases a contraction of driver earnings over the past decade, he said, adding “The average road driver only nets approximately $40,000 to $45,000 in realized earnings.”
New restrictions in Hours of Service (HOS) last year decreased driver availability by 10%. Transits are effectively reduced from 500-550 miles per day to 450-475 miles which can add an extra day to long-haul routes. Roasters that rely on just in time (JIT) supply should adjust their schedule to account for longer transit times “and potentially increase raw material inventories in order to assure uninterrupted production capabili- ties,” advises Hartley.
The shortage of drivers is the most acute problem in the U.S. facing roasters in a year when container rates have stabilized and there is a greater availability of ships compared due to slowing Asian exports.
Annually STiR Tea & Coffee International takes a close look at coffee transit. This year Munich-based reporter Ken Macbeth Knowles visited the Vollers Port & Commodity Logistics facility in Bremen, Germany to explore shipping coffee in bulk. [See ICE Arabica Arrives in Bulk]. Coffee transport is highly efficient in Europe where some roasters get as much as 90% of their coffee in lined containers,. The coffee containers are then tipped into receiving hoppers, stored in silos and poured into “cistern” style grain carriers for delivery to roasters. There is not a gunny sack to be seen.
Until this December ICE contracts for arabica required shipment in bags. Cur- rently 5% of the world’s arabica is shipped in bulk. The policy change is expected to gradually increase the bulk tonnage of green coffee transported to the U.S.
There are many sound reasons small roasters prefer receiving small shipments in bags but large quantity roasters should explore the significant (18%) shipping savings along with reduced spoilage and insect damage, lower insurance premiums, labor-sav- ing loading and overall lower transportation cost cited in the article.
Coffee defects are on the rise as a result of drought and pestilence. Coffee rust degrades the beans that it does not kill outright making it more important than ever for coffee processors to separate the bad from the good. Detecting Defects begins on pg. 40 and provides useful information on recent advances in optical technology that costs as much as a quarter million dollars.
The single-cup craze is accelerating with an estimated 1.8 billion cups a month consumed by Americans and a similar number of espresso capsules brewed in Europe.
U.S. sales grew 20% in 2014. Filling and packing capsules is the new normal for roast- ers who must master a range of technical challenges. See pg. 50 to learn why Precision Manufacturing is Essential to Capsule Success.
Nespresso has produced roughly 50 billion capsules since it started the single-serve revolution in 1986. This year that number will double.