(Feb. 14) Frontera Produce Ltd., Edinburg, Texas, has expanded with a transportation division that will handle logistics for its Texas and Florida sales offices.

“Our freight costs last year were over $12 million,” said Amy Gates, Frontera’s chief operating officer. “We needed in-house expertise to really minimize our costs.”

Larry Stone and Dewayne Finn will manage Frontera Logistics from the company’s Edinburg office. Finn and Stone previously worked together at Larry’s Loading Service Inc., Pharr, Texas, but Stone closed that business when he joined Frontera in January, Gates said.

Gates said the new employees don’t have titles yet.

Frontera has been growing at a rate of 25% a year, Gates said. She expected the 15-year-old company’s freight costs to top $15 million this year. Before the new division opened, Gates said Frontera’s sales staff — five employees in Texas and three in Florida — were expected to book freight for their own accounts. That system didn’t lend itself to consolidating loads, she said.

“We want to make sure we have one truck going to a region and making multiple drops,” she said.

Gates said the new division will give Frontera more control of products from fields to the customer, and it also will take a strain off the company’s sales department.

“They need to be focused on commodities and accounts,” Gates said, “not booking freight at the end of the day.”