News and insight for North America's fresh produce buyers
Carl Collen

BY CARL COLLEN

Wednesday 19th May 2021, 08:14 Central Time

Giumarra taps into truck tech

Group joins forces with TuSimple and AWG to distribute fresh produce using autonomous truck technology

Giumarra taps into truck tech

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Giumarra has announced a revolutionary new logistics project in the fresh produce industry. An autonomous trucking test has been completed in partnership with San Diego-based autonomous trucking leader TuSimple and the nation’s largest cooperative food wholesaler, Associated Wholesale Grocers.

“Our company continues to travel down a path of innovation, as we have now successfully tested autonomous trucking after our autonomous aircraft transportation test a few months ago,” said Tim Riley, president of the Giumarra Companies.

“Autonomous trucking technology is a real game changer for us, as its time efficiencies provide us with an enhanced opportunity to supply fresher fruits and vegetables across the United States – particularly to food deserts and rural communities," he noted.

On 3 May, TuSimple picked up a load of fresh watermelons from Giumarra’s facility in Nogales, Arizona, and transported the produce across four states to AWG’s distribution center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

At the DC, the fruit was inspected and distributed to Doc’s Country Mart and Homeland grocery stores across the state.
 
The pick-up and delivery of the produce, commonly referred to as 'first mile' and 'last mile', was done manually with a human driver, while the longest portion of the journey from Tucson, Arizona, to Dallas, Texas, also known as the 'middle mile', was done autonomously using TuSimple’s self-driving technology. The autonomous portion of the journey covered more than 900 miles.

“We believe the food industry is one of many that will greatly benefit from the use of TuSimple’s autonomous trucking technology,” said Jim Mullen, chief administrative officer, TuSimple.

“Given the fact that autonomous trucks can operate nearly continuously without taking a break means fresh produce can be moved from origin to destination faster, resulting in fresher food and less waste," Mullen added.

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