The massive increase in US manufacturing has hit the trucking sector hard, causing both capacity issues and delays as an already precarious industry tries to keep up with renewed interest from heavy machinery and parts. Unpredictable fuel rates, record low levels of the Mississippi River, and an omnipresent shortage of drivers put pressure on carriers to meet expected service levels despite a cascade of opposition. In the latest American Trucking Association “Trends” report, it’s calculated that trucking is 80.8% of all US freight costs, the most significant portion of the transportation industry has a twisting road to navigate as we enter the holiday season.
Now that carriers are incentivized to return containers early to capitalize on the movement of drivers and chassis, the boxes that are trapped under a mountain of cargo should clear more quickly but there’s more to balancing an equation than just reducing one side’s burden. Once there are enough chassis, will there be enough drivers? If there are enough trucks, do they have adequate support in place to cover an entire nation of need? Just a decade ago, the answer was a quick yes followed by a look of confusion. Now, with cross-border traffic at $828 billion and entire supply chains dependent on trucks’ movements, many experts are looking at the trucking industry unsure if they can meet the moment with the current infrastructure.
Weathering these swings likely won’t be as wild as we went through in the pandemic, but it’s still going to be a tightrope that connects the disruption to times less turbulent. That fine line is a masterclass in flexibility, creativity, and proactive communication with your logistics partners. The more lead time, the more availability you have when booking trucks, the easier it is for carriers to provide efficient solutions.
As we move deeper into the fourth quarter and hit the gas toward the holidays, we at Edward J. Zarach & Associates want to remind our readers that the trucking industry is predominately made up of small businesses. Fewer than 5% of fleets have more than ten trucks and fewer than .3% have more than 100. These numbers remind us that the carriers we are working with are vital beats in the heart of America, also trying to meet demands that have skyrocketed while navigating the new normal we’re walking through. Our nationwide network of trucking partners and carriers give you the support you need to succeed this holiday season. If you want to know how Zarach can keep your cargo truckin’, contact your representative today.