Whether you are shipping truckload or LTL, there are always ways to save costs on your freight spend. One of the easiest things you can do that will have the most impact to your bottom line is to dedicate time to thoroughly evaluate your freight bills. Review every charge-back, vendor penalty, and accessorial fee over the last few months.
Like the famous words of Captain James T. Kirk, we are boldly going “where no man has gone before,” and I am not talking about the outermost regions of space. I am talking about right here on terra firma. Sure, we’ve had plagues and pandemics before, but never with the population, economy, and intricate network of transportation and travel that we have in the 21st century. It is a brave new world, alright, and we are scrambling to adapt and adopt.
Luckily, adversity is the mother of invention, and it is evident in the way we as humans are adapting to the global pandemic. Shippers who are lucky enough to be manufacturing are facing serious challenges, such as working with reduced staff, dealing with volatility in order patterns, finding a need for alternate sourcing, and navigating around unclear government regulations that differ from state to state. Despite the chaos, freight keeps moving, and shippers are finding new and sometimes better ways to get the job done.
Carrier Compliance, Carrier Relations, and Carrier Development
When COVID-19 began, it was carriers, independent owner-operators, and small and large fleets that kept the nation’s food supply on track. The country rallied like never before thanking truckers for their dedication and service.
For freight brokers, the essential role that carriers play in the supply chain is well-recognized. For Choptank Transport, focusing on carrier relations means establishing better connections with carriers to provide better service to customers.
Among the many disruptions the Coronavirus has created this spring, will finding Mother’s Day flowers now be added to the list?
It is less than a week away, so we thought it might be interesting to talk to some nursery and floral shippers to get the full scoop about this year’s crop of that most wonderful harbinger of spring—FLOWERS.
Retta Hyatt has been a driver for less than a year, and in that short time she has become accustomed to life on the road. She and her traveling companion, a chocolate lab named Jamaica, are witnessing the COVID-19 pandemic from behind the wheel of a big rig. Sounds safe, right? Well, yes and no.
FREIGHT MARKET & THE PANDEMIC
Looking at the freight market in Q1 of 2020 is much like watching the new season of Ozark on Netflix; it first requires a brief look at what came before. My personal binge-watching policy dictates that before diving into a new season, I do a quick recap of the last two episodes to get the full impact of what is going on now.
So, let’s review what was happening at the close of 2019 in the freight industry. Everyone summed up the year by comparing it to the bull market of 2018, with slight resignation but hopefulness. The overriding sentiment was that even though the market in 2019 paled in comparison to the previous year, the industry was still experiencing growth, and we had 2020 to catch up.
With more than 570,000 confirmed cases of the Coronavirus in the U.S. in mid-April, there are questions about the safety of everything and anything manufactured overseas. Since it is believed that the virus began in the open food markets of China's Wuhan province, imported foods are on the minds of the masses.
...plus everything you need to know to get a competitive truckload freight rate
What Defines a Full Truckload?
There are different kinds of truckload shipments and services, such as cold or dry truckload shipments, flatbed freight and heavy haul truckload shipping. A full truckload (FTL) is characterized by filling either a 53’ or 48’ trailer containing one shipment going from point A to point B, or it can be a multi-stop load which will add costs. It can range from 24 – 30 pallets or more. The amount of space the cargo takes up can be more important than the weight of a truckload shipment. (Learn more about freight optimization and capacity utilization reporting in Choptank's new customer portal, Orbit TI®.) Weights can vary from 5,000 pounds all the way up to 45,000 pounds, the latter being a more common full truckload weight.
It’s the flower shippers who deserve the love on Valentine’s Day!
Most people have no idea what those beautiful flowers go through to get to you. The ones that wind up on coffee tables and office desks across the U.S. -- it’s not just a stroll down from the local flower shop. Oh, no. It is more likely that those beautiful buds have traveled thousands of miles, through various temperature zones, over bumpy roads and border crossings, to get to you.
2019 was the year of the shipper. Truck rates were low, freight volumes were a shadow of their former selves, and capacity was high. Trucks were so plentiful that the term “capacity crunch,” a common phrase in 2018, was rarely heard. The market did not favor the carrier.
2020, however, is positioned to be a year fraught with a whole new list of challenges for both carriers and shippers, including changes to hours of service, pending regulations like the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, California’s AB5 legislation, and AOBRDs’ final gasp, all of which could result in higher truck rates and fewer trucks on the road.