Green coffee delivery

Green coffee delivery:
everything about the last mile

Coffee’s journey from farm to cup is lengthy and complex. Both pre-and post-harvest, our logistics teams work to become more efficient, further develop processes, build rapport with our vendors and global partners, and deliver green coffee to worldwide destinations timely.

Roasters pre-book specific lots and anxiously await new crop arrivals to our trusted warehousing locations. What happens next? How does coffee move to a roastery? What are a roaster’s options? What’s required for LTL (less than truckload) delivery? What are the nuances of the last mile?

Here, we’ll walk you through some of our most common green coffee delivery inquiries.

Learn everything about green coffee delivery and the last mile

Can Trabocca manage the delivery of my coffee from a warehouse to my roastery?

Absolutely. We work with a wide variety of carriers – both through brokers and carrier-direct relationships – to move anything from a single 30kg box, to full pallets of 60kg bags, to full truckloads of coffee. We are happy to provide rate proposals and carrier information at any point during the buying process.

What are Incoterms? How do they impact my contracts and deliveries?

The Incoterms you see on your contract with Trabocca define the point at which the risk of loss or damage to the coffee shifts from seller (Trabocca) to buyer (roaster). They also dictate to which party the originating warehouse will assess loadout charges, including handling, palletizing, banding, and shrink-wrapping. For shipments originating from Trabocca’s position at one of many warehouses, we typically structure contracts under four different terms: EXW, FCA, DAP, and DDP.

What is EXW?

EXW – Ownership risk shifts to the roaster / buyer once Trabocca’s DO is issued and confirmed received by the warehouse. The coffee moves into the account of the roaster, and the inventory and delivery processes are managed by the roaster. Subsequent warehouse storage, handling, prep, and load-out charges are assessed to the roaster directly by the warehouse. The roaster is billed for transportation costs directly by their nominated carrier.

What is FCA?

Ownership risk shifts to the roaster/buyer once the coffee is prepped and delivered/presented by Trabocca to the carrier selected by the roaster. Trabocca assumes warehouse handling, prep, and load-out charges, and risk is transferred to the roaster once their nominated carrier accepts the freight at the warehouse. The roaster is billed for transportation costs directly by their nominated carrier.

What is DAP?

Ownership risk shifts to the roaster/buyer once Trabocca has made the coffee available for unloading at the roaster’s premises or nominated place of delivery. Trabocca assumes warehouse handling, prep, and load-out charges, contracts a carrier, and is responsible for any damages in transit. For a cross-border (to Canada) delivery, DAP terms stipulate that the roaster is responsible for customs clearance. Trabocca includes the price of delivery as a line item on the order invoice, or builds it into the price of the coffee, depending on which method is agreed to with the roaster at the time the contract is issued.

What is DDP?

Ownership risk shifts to the roaster/buyer once Trabocca has made the coffee available for unloading at the roaster’s premises or nominated place of delivery. Trabocca assumes warehouse handling, prep, and load-out charges, contracts a carrier, and is responsible for any damages in transit. For a cross-border (to Canada) delivery, DDP terms stipulate Trabocca is also responsible for customs clearance. Trabocca includes the price of delivery as a line item on the order invoice, or builds it into the price of the coffee, depending on which method is agreed to with the roaster at the time the contract is issued.

Can Trabocca manage my consolidation for me?

No. Roasters seeking to build consolidations between importers will need to take deliveries via EXW or FCA contract terms. Consolidated deliveries managed by Trabocca under DAP/DDP terms would mean that Trabocca assumes the delivery risk for coffee owned by other importers, for contracts that we are not party to.

How many bags can I load on a pallet?

For Trabocca-managed delivered (DAP/DDP terms), we will typically stick to a clean 10 bags per pallet. For roaster-managed deliveries (EXW/FCA terms), we will instruct the warehouse at the roaster’s discretion. Warehouses will load up to 12 bags per pallet, with extra wrapping and strapping. Our experience has shown that the risk of damage increases once pallets are loaded beyond 10 bags.

What are pallet dimensions?

A full pallet of 10 x 60kg bags is roughly 48”x40”x”48”. 1,322 net lbs, 1,372 gross lbs. Pallet weight can vary. We use 50 lbs as a conservative estimate. If seeking your own rates, be sure to quote the gross weight. We are happy to provide resources and cheat sheets for pallet dims of varying bag quantities on request.

What special delivery services do I need? What’s available?

Carriers offer a wide variety of special services. We generally see the need for the following:

Liftgate Delivery – No forklift? No dock? No problem. With liftgate service, your pallet(s) will arrive in a trailer equipped with a tail lift that will lower your coffee to the ground. Haul it away by hand, or with a pallet jack. Liftgate service often runs $50-80 over standard trailer delivery.

Notification – Carrier will notify you of your coffee’s impeding arrival. We include this service for all deliveries managed by Trabocca (DAP/DDP terms).

Appointment – Carrier will contact you to schedule a specific delivery window.

Residential Delivery – Service to non-commercial addresses (private home, apartment complex, etc.).

How does Less Than Truckload (LTL) freight work?

Hiring a full truck is expensive and would be inefficient for moving a single pallet. LTL services work to aggregate freight moving from one specific city or region, to another specific city or region. When you order a single pallet from, say, The Annex Warehouse in Alameda, CA, for delivery to a roastery in Bend, OR, the carrier will move the freight multiple times, in multiple trailers. A local driver will transport the pallet from the Annex to the carrier’s local terminal, or warehouse, in the Bay Area. Here, the pallet will be combined with freight from other shippers also wishing to move product to Oregon; enough to fill a single trailer, which will then move to the carrier’s destination terminal in the Portland, OR metro area. At the destination terminal, the pallet will once again be sorted and staged to move with other shippers wishing to move product to a more specific city or region, like that of Bend, OR. At this point, the receiver will be contacted for notification or appointment services, if requested. Then, the final delivery will be made. It’s important to remember that a single pallet is touched and moved many times throughout this process. More often than not, you get what you pay for! The lowest-cost carriers typically have much higher risk of damage or loss, which is important to keep in mind when selecting a provider.

How does Trabocca select carriers? What carrier should I use? Why are my freight rates changing?

Many factors dictate which carrier or broker we might use for a specific delivery. Some shipping lanes are very consistent with regular volume, in which case we might contract directly with a preferred carrier on that route. At the national level, for spot purchases or shipping lanes that we move less frequently, we are more likely to work through a broker who can show us a variety of carrier options at a variety of price and service levels. If Trabocca is managing your delivery, and you have a preferred carrier based on past experience, please let us know. We are also happy to make recommendations to roasters seeking to forge their own broker or carrier partnership. Rates fluctuate against factors like volume, market demand, and the price of fuel. Whether managing this process with Trabocca or a carrier/broker for your deliveries, roasters can request long term delivery price agreements, or pursue freight options on a spot basis.

What should I do when my coffee arrives? What if it arrives damaged?

Most importantly, always inspect the arriving pallet or pallets carefully before signing the bill of lading presented by the driver. Check for damage. Verify marks. Verify the bag count as best as possible. If the cargo matches expectations, sign the bill of lading and get that coffee into the roaster!

If the coffee arrives damaged, or short, note this clearly on the bill of lading before signing. This is the whole ballgame when it comes to filing claims. In the absence of these notes, the shipment is considered to have arrived intact. If the marks do not match, or if the pallet and coffee are severely damaged, you have the right to refuse delivery as long as the bill of lading has not yet been signed. At that point, turn the driver away and then promptly contact Trabocca and/or your carrier or broker. Under EXW or FCA terms, damages are the roaster’s responsibility, and a claim must be filed directly with the carrier or broker if desired. Under DAP/DDP terms, damages are the responsibility of Trabocca, and Trabocca will file a claim or devise another solution for the roaster. In either situation, we are standing by to assist with documentation or questions.

Photographing your arriving pallets can be very helpful as well, especially if they are short or damaged. Photos can offer subtle clues that help determine the point of loss; what color is the shrink wrap? Is there shrink wrap at all? How many bands are there? What color are the bands? Are any bands severed? Etc.

What kind of notice do warehouses need to fulfill orders?

This varies by warehouse. Contact your Trabocca rep for details. For ease of planning, consider 11 AM local warehouse time as the cutoff (time by which the warehouse needs a DO and BOL) for all facilities. An order placed at 11 AM PST Monday, will be ready to load out on Wednesday afternoon from the Annex. Assuming the local warehouse cutoff time is met, for all other warehouses that same order would be ready Tuesday afternoon. In other words, most warehouses can ship with 24 hours’ notice. The Annex is temporarily working with 48 hours. LTL carriers make pickups in the afternoon.

Can you rush my order?

Sometimes you get crunched and need coffee fast. It happens! Yes, warehouses offer rush service. Additionally, some LTL carriers offer “Guaranteed” service, which ensures your coffee moves under the stated transit time once loaded from the warehouse. In either instance, price premiums apply. Forecasting your needs well in advance is always the best option, especially in today’s volatile and congested logistics market.

Why is it taking so long for my coffee to load from the warehouse?

Our partners are moving thousands – and sometimes tens of thousands – of bags per week, and loading is at the whim of the nominated carrier. More often than not, cargo is ready quickly and as expected at the warehouse, but individual drivers run out of trailer space and do not return the same day. With the exception of the busy holiday season, a healthy majority of orders ship within 1-2 business days of the DO and BOL being issued.

My coffee loaded out from the warehouse, but is delayed. Why?

See “How does Less Than Truckload (LTL) freight work?” Pallets are moving through multiple terminals and on multiple trailers. Delays can and do occur, particularly seasonally with adverse winter weather conditions and during the peak holiday shipping season. Contact Trabocca or your carrier/broker for specific shipment updates and inquiries.

How do I track my order?

For Trabocca-managed deliveries (DAP/DDP terms), contact your Trabocca rep for a carrier PRO number or tracking link. For roaster-managed deliveries (EXW/FCA terms), please contact your carrier or broker directly to request a carrier PRO number or tracking link.

Having any unanswered questions?

If the answer to your question isn’t listed here, please reach out to our Logistics experts. We are happy to assist you with all delivery-related questions.