Labor Day Shipping Rates Spike

Posted by Harriet Mills on Aug 24, 2017 9:55:46 AM

Labor Day, like Memorial Day, is one of those “long weekend” holidays we all look forward to. Some people even confuse the two.  We ponder the origins of each one briefly so we feel good about why we are celebrating it. These holidays have grown to represent more than just the day itself. Memorial Day kicks off the beginning of summer, nice weather and vacation time -- and conversely, Labor Day, the beginning of the school year, fall foliage and the bigger holidays.

Holiday Traffic.jpg


For those of us in the transportation industry, these events don’t always coincide with relaxed time spent with friends and family.  Instead, the weekends are more about preparing for the stress of higher freight rates, scrambling to get things out the door and loaded, and the anxiety of waiting for delayed freight caught up in bumper-to-bumper holiday traffic.    

The reality of the situation is that holiday rates will begin next week and continue through Labor Day. Truck capacity is low (down 30% from this same time last year) which means rates will be higher than expected. The Northeast and Midwest markets are the toughest right now.  Texas, California and North Carolina are all easing up with produce moving out of those areas, but multi-stop loads are becoming extremely tough to cover, and trucks are wanting a premium as they adjust to how life will be with ELDs in effect. (Graphs: 


Here are a couple of things to consider during the holiday rush:

  • Plan ahead and ship as early as possible so you don’t run up against HOS restrictions
  • Try to keep things moving on the dock! Delays loading or unloading can cost detention fees and lost hours for drivers, all of which can worsen an already busy holiday rush
  • Clearly communicate your needs and expectations with your service provider so if there are delays, there is a contingency plan
  • Understand that receivers often have shorter holiday hours, and schedule accordingly
  • Expect delays, so when they DON’T happen, you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

Share your thoughts on the likely rate spike? 


Tags: Carrier News, Industry News