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The Logistics of Logistics Podcast

Dec 23, 2022

Chris Fish and Joe Lynch discuss bulk food transport. Chris is the Senior Vice President of Dedicated Contract Transportation by Ruan Transportation which provides Dedicated Contract Transportation, Managed Transportation, and Value-added Warehousing.

About Chris Fish

Chris Fish was appointed Senior Vice President of Dedicated Contract Transportation in 2017. He joined Ruan Transportation Management Systems in 1998 and has served in various progressive roles of leadership over his tenure. Fish has been in the transportation industry for the last 30 years, serving on various transportation committees during that time. Chris is a native of Chicago, IL, and attended Saint Ambrose University in Davenport, IA. Chris and his spouse Christine are active in the community; most recently, Chris served as the chairperson of Ruan’s record breaking 2020 United Way of Central Iowa campaign.

About Ruan Transportation

Founded in 1932, Ruan is a family-owned transportation company providing Dedicated Contract Transportation, Managed Transportation, Value-added Warehousing, and Brokerage Support Services. With 90 years of transportation and logistics experience, Ruan is one of the top 10 privately owned transportation service companies in the country. The company operates from 300 locations nationwide and employs over 5,500 team members.

Key Takeaways: Successful Bulk Food Transport

  • In his role as Senior Vice President of Dedicated Contract Transportation at Ruan, Chris and his team help food producers transport bulk shipments.
  • In the podcast interview, Chris explains that there is a higher bar for bulk food transport. Because the risk of contamination (intentional and unintentional) is very high, there is a lot of regulatory compliance for both producers and carriers. Bulk food carriers like Ruan must meet a higher standard in areas like driver training, licensing, weighing & sampling, and food safety.
  • While there are plenty of small carriers that succeed in the space, big carriers who have the resources (people, tractors, tankers, ability to invest) are usually a better fit in the bulk food transportation business.
  • The pandemic highlighted some of the real challenges faced by both milk producers and their supply chain partners. Overnight, milk producers were forced to drastically redirect their product to alternative channels. Milk cows never stop producing the product so the milk is either sold or it is wasted.
  • Large carriers like Ruan who have a large fleet, visibility, and the ability to reallocate resources to key customers made all the difference for milk producers in their time of crisis.
  • When selecting a bulk food transportation partner carrier, Chris suggests that food producers look for the following 5 attributes in a carrier:
    • A large pool of drivers who have experience in bulk transport, low turnover, proper training, and certifications.
    • Owns assets including tractors, trailers, terminals -  especially valuable during times when capacity is a problem.
    • The right culture – one that values ownership, employee engagement, safety, customer relationships, accountability, integrity, operational excellence, sustainability, etc.
    • An exceptional logistics / back office that can plan, execute, and manage every risk and every continency.
    • Cutting edge technology in their trucks, terminals, and offices.

Learn More About Successful Bulk Food Transport

Chris Fish LinkedIn

Ruan Transportation

The Logistics of Logistics Podcast