North American produce haulers can resolve disputes via DRC membership

The Fruit and Vegetable Dispute Resolution Corporation (DRC) is a not-for-profit organization that provides dispute resolution services for parties in the United States or Canada that are involved in transporting fresh produce. Its trading rules apply automatically when two or more members are in a dispute, and its awards are enforceable by a court order if necessary. The DRC was established in 2000, in connection with the signing of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

While membership is voluntary in many circumstances, it is actually mandatory for certain fruit and vegetable dealers pursuant to section 122 of the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations.

An article on states that, depending upon your position in the transportation industry, it is worth considering membership. Among its members are shippers, dealers, brokers, carriers and transportation intermediaries. The DRC publishes rules and guidelines, including its trading standards (i.e. commercial standards), and transportation standards that include “good temperature guidelines” for fresh cargo.

The DRC is well suited to help carriers resolve unpaid freight disputes. Its services may be less suited to those whose disputes may be more complicated, or who may wish to rely on their own contractual terms rather than the DRC guidelines, or who may wish to preserve their entitlement to go to court. On the other hand, the process has the benefit of keeping disputes out of the public eye.

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