You’ve got the best freight insurance in the world, right? Sure you do—until you have a claim, that is. When compensation is needed, some policies can turn out to be about as much good as a screen door in a submarine. In other words, you're not covered.
Our Team of Logistics Pros Offer Shippers Valuable Insights
U.S. Shipping Volumes
The leaves are falling and so may be your profits this peak season. It is a wild and wooly freight market this year and the supply chain has dealt shippers a tough hand. We are fighting a pandemic that has far-reaching economic and personal ramifications. Shipping volumes are 50 percent higher than either of the last two years. High rates and lack of capacity keep gnawing away at profits, just like the virus keeps rearing its ugly head around the country. Relying on historical trends has become pointless with a market that is as unpredictable as this year’s presidential race (or as President Trump’s next tweet). 2018 dealt us a bull market, 2019 was flat, and well, we all know the story this year.
Documentation: The Essential Safety Net in Cold Freight Shipping
Tracking & Real-Time Visibility
Less than a decade ago, a shipment of frozen fish would leave a dock in California and possibly go through several different states and several different temperature zones before arriving at its destination. It also may have had several deliveries along the way. The shipper knew it was frozen when it left its place of origin, and the receiver made a notation that it was frozen upon arrival at its destination. But what about the four hours it sat in an open truck while other cargo was being unloaded on a hot 102°F day in the Southwest? Before GPS tracking and real-time visibility, there was no way of knowing what happened in between points A, B, C, and D.
Packaging, Palletizing, Staging and Pre-cooling
It may sound simple, but shipping refrigerated cargo successfully starts with proper packaging, palletizing, and loading of the product. Many claims relating to spoiled or damaged temperature-controlled cargo begin with poorly executed pre-loading procedures.
These topics and others will be the focus of our upcoming webinar, "Refrigerated Shipping: Myths versus Facts." In the meantime, read on to learn some of the most important things shippers can do to keep their perishable freight safe.
What’s the big deal about pulping?
Taking temperatures isn’t just something you should do for COVID-19. It is an essential part of shipping produce on refrigerated trucks. In the logistics industry the process is called pulping, and it is the act of taking the fruit’s or vegetable’s temperature during various stages of the shipment.
If God had written ten commandments for shipping produce, the first commandment would be, “Thou shalt not put a warm load of melons straight from the field into a pre-cooled truck and expect it to deliver on-temp.” Every cold chain shipper should know this.
Ready to hear some crazy statistics about America's food in the supply chain? Before I divulge any numbers, let's look at the big picture concerning the food we ship in this country.
The food we grow in the United States combined with the food we import is more than enough to sustain the population amply. That's the good news. The bad news is there are still more than 37 million starving people in the U.S., reports Feeding America—but the real kicker? Of all the food waste in this country, up to 40 percent occurs in the supply chain, according to the USDA's website. Do we have any control over this astronomical percentage? Well, let's just say we can do better.
Weekly Market Brief
63,200 individuals in the United States tested positive for COVID-19 in a single day just last Thursday. That is a record. Since the rise in infections are mostly in southern states such as Texas, Georgia, Arizona, and Florida, panic-buying is returning and capacity is tightening in these areas. Adding even more stress to the market is this week's arrival of the annual DOT road inspections.
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.