Food and Freight Work Together
Big Business Concepts
Food and feeding tourists and residents in the Las Vegas Valley is an enormous business. Being a growing city is a great sign that Las Vegas, Henderson, and North Las Vegas are thriving communities but where does produce and food come from? Part of the perpetual growth is how all the puzzle pieces fit together so well. Not many crops grow in the desert so the food for both tourists and residents need to get to town to feed everyone. I’d say that 99% of all of the food products in the valley are brought here through freight. Many, many trucks enter the city, unload and leave every day.
Cost of Goods
Nevada is a very consumable city. Everything in the city is trucked in which is fine. The problem with being in the middle of the desert has been that trucks were leaving empty most of the time. Trucking companies often have to charge for gas and mileage both directions or offer lower outbound rates.
Companies like moved manufacturing to Las Vegas, Henderson and North Las Vegas for just that reason. Big O Tires, Oceanspray Cranberries, Levis, Home Shopping Network, and Amazon have all taken advantage of these lower freight costs.
What empty trucks mean to you is that the cost is added on to food and goods that consumers purchase. Grocery stores still have fruit for $.99 a pound and ground beef for $3+ a pound and T-Bones at $5 a pound so our costs are not completely outrageous because of volume. I guess everything’s relative- my family in Montana and Oregon pay WAY more than we do for food, so I’m grateful.
Since the desert has very few trees, wood, paper goods, and building materials are many of the products that are transported in. Some companies use the rail system to bring raw materials into the city, several having their own rail spurs. Oceanspray uses an open-wagon type of train car to bring in raw cranberries. Then they make their various juices and they use semi-trucks for outgoing freight and distribution. Being located less than a day’s drive to many large cities, this makes sense.
A city with a 600,000 pound Gorilla called “The Strip” can afford to hire experts. One expert was brilliant about 15 years ago and suggested we built an international runway. This runway allows larger airplanes carrying both passengers and additional freight, to land here. Imports now fill up some of the trucks leaving town at reduced freight costs.
U.S. Customs at McCarran International Airport only takes a few hours to process imports compared to other cities who sometimes take days. Since we only have one international port of entry, Customs is not spread out as thinly as they are in other cities. From Las Vegas, it’s only a 4-hour drive to Southern California and a day to Phoenix, Tuscon, Albuquerque, Denver, Salt Lake, Sacramento, and San Francisco.
This big-picture plan has helped to keep the Cost of Goods down, but there are still a lot of empty trucks leaving town. A couple of examples of truck space required are: tourists consume over 100,000 pounds of SHRIMP each and every day! Those guys require refrigerated trucks to get them here and Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream plant in Henderson needs to ship ice cream out. Good match! Amazon, Sephora, HSN, Big O Tires, Ocean Spray all take advantage of our empty trucks and workforce. Think about how much toilet paper 2.25 million people use in a day and the truck space required to bring in just that one product every day.
Buffet Food Waste
Can you imagine the amount of food needed to feed 250,000 tourists a day at buffets alone? Now think about how much food is thrown out each day at these large buffets? It’s staggering!
There was a large pig farm in North Las Vegas that collected buffet and kitchen waste every day at the hotels. Pigs at this farm were fat and happy! When the farm relocated further out of town last year, they incorporated a freeze-drying food plant to save and re-distribute all of the extra buffet waste they collected. This great program is also filling trucks.
Republic Services invested in custom-designed machinery for a state-of-the-art recycling plant two years ago. It was the largest recycling plant in the country- it may still be. Trucks and trains are filled with bundles of recycled materials every day to get shipped overseas.
Nevada tax benefits are certainly attractive, however, there’s a spirit of “team” and “creating good” that keeps us here. We are happy to have called Las Vegas home for over 25 years. We’ve seen a lot of changes and growth. What makes us proud of the community are the creative problem-solving companies and people that also call Southern Nevada home.
This Blog was written by Kurt Grosse. Kurt is a 24+ Year Nevada Realtor, Retired Building Engineer (P.E., C.E.) and is known as “The Protector.” If you are looking to buy or sell property in Southern Nevada, give him a call today. 702-750-7599.
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