The usual fluctuations in the logistics market are typically cyclical throughout the year, especially in years with minimal fluctuations and no elections. In those standard years, peak season is a clearly defined section of the year when massive quantities of cargo depart from manufacturers and warehouses to journey toward the retailers gearing up for the holiday shopping season. This year, it’s the best and worst of both worlds – where we have had both massive periods of market disruption and yet, are moving into a definite peak season with minimal upheaval.
One issue this year that is making the situation harder than it needs to be on shippers is the equipment imbalance and how wildly out of control it has grown. Just three years ago, the discrepancy was that empties in Asia could not come back to the US without cargo, taking up large amounts of time to be filled, shipped, emptied, and deployed before the return voyage.
Then, there were a few months when shippers couldn’t get empties because carriers were turning them the moment they were empty, not allowing exporters to fill them so that China wouldn’t face delays of unloading before they could fill them. Many issues we face in logistics are just the same tower of trouble that’s been reconfigured just enough to be referred to as a “fresh” disaster instead of disaster business as usual.
Now, equipment issues include too many empties, causing carriers in the US to decline to accept the return of empty containers that can be redeployed to load exports. Many containers are full and locked underneath a pile of other containers on rails, chassis, and ships. As we’ve been advocating for the lifespan of our business, planning prevents the market upheavals from hitting as hard as they can when you’re unprepared. By building in advance notice to procure the needed equipment and ensure there is a driver who can meet your service requirements, we can build in extra time for contingencies.
Those contingencies are the creative solutions you’ll need to keep your cargo moving during the busiest times. Our expert representatives are on hand to help you find out the best way to plan your shipping and organize your distribution. Contact your Edward J. Zarach & Associates representative to learn more today.