Tips for Navigating Seasonality in the Transportation Industry

November 21, 2019 Casey Nighbor

As summer approaches, fleets can breathe a sigh of relief knowing less loads will have to be rerouted due to snow storms, icy road conditions and other winter hazards. But, spring and summer bring their own set of challenges, including a big seasonal ramp up.

The Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that over the last three years, spot rates have peaked between May and August. As spot rates increase, fleets also have to endure increased traffic and congestion, seasonal commodity challenges, and inventory challenges.

Preparing your fleet in advance will help ensure success during the busy season.

Route Planning

During the summer, congestion increases. With more vehicles on the road, fleets can anticipate a higher rate of accidents due to closer vehicle spacing, and a higher rate of incidents due to overheating vehicles. To combat these issues, fleets can be proactive by creating alternate routes to help drivers avoid bottlenecks whenever possible. Fleets should also account for traffic by lengthening shipment windows whenever possible. This will make routes seem more achievable for drivers, and help limit frustrations.

Commodity Planning

Warmer weather heavily impacts what commodities are being shipping. Food and beverage distributors will be battling the heat in order to keep items fresh during transit. The United States Department of Agriculture reports that during Q3 – the height of summer – produce shipping rates increase almost $0.30 per mile, putting more pressure on carriers to deliver products in a timely fashion. Before sending out any shipments on refrigerated trucks ensure required temperatures can be met, and notify drivers of these requirements.

Load Planning

Seasonal goods are shipped to meet flocculating demands of consumers, meaning fleets need to be flexible to meet the demands of their customers. While meeting customer demands is important, retaining drivers can make or break a busy season. Honor time off – instead of adding shifts to already packed schedules, consider working with a driver staffing partner to find seasonal drivers to help with additional loads.

Preparing your fleet in advance will help ensure success during the busy season.

About the Author

Casey is the content marketing manager for True Blue Inc.

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