A Christmas (Tree) Story: A Tale of Seasonal Logistics

by TMC Corporate Communications on Tuesday, November 14, 2023 in Company News

Christmas trees bring joy to homes around the country during the holiday season, but they also bring supply chain headaches for shippers and carriers during the fall and winter months as they have to deal with the transportation and supply chain challenges that those festive trees create.

In the US, consumers purchase about 25 to 30 million real Christmas trees every year. Each of these trees must be harvested within about 60 to 90 days of Christmas and safely shipped to its destination—and it has to arrive in good condition, looking its best, to be welcome in someone’s living room.

This means that carriers and shippers put a lot of thought into how to best transport Christmas trees around the country. The trees need to be protected from the elements and kept at a temperature that will best preserve them. Many shippers opt for refrigerated trailers, and some even add ice on top of the trees to keep them cool and prevent drying out. In some climates, dry vans are also an option.

Most Christmas trees are grown on farms in Oregon, North Carolina, or Michigan. But they end up available for purchase all over the country, required a tremendous amount of one-way logistics, often from remote pick-up locations, and without back hauls.

A choropleth showing the distribution of Christmas tree farms across the US

Source: nbcnews.com

Even without considering the special care that carriers must take to make sure trees arrive at their destination in good condition, Christmas tree season can lead to a massive crunch in the shipping industry. Many tree farmers book their capacity well in advance to ensure that they can sell their product, leaving other shippers scrambling to find the transportation they need for their less festive products. And at a time of year when other bulky, seasonal items like road salt and snowplows also need to get to their destination smoothly, finding capacity for what you need to ship can be a challenge.

If your business is facing a logistics challenge this holiday season—or any other time of year—TMC Logistics can help you find the transportation solution you need. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your freight arrive at its destination safely and on time.