Conquering the Crunch: Working with Limited Freight Carrier Capacity
First the bad news: freight carriers are maxed out. Following the economic plunge in early 2020, shipping demand has come roaring back to record levels and shows no sign of slowing down. Already facing a driver shortage, U.S. freight carriers are dealing with unprecedented volumes that are stretching the capacity of their trucks and networks like never before. For business that ship through FTL and LTL freight carriers, this painful pinch has translated into higher rates, above-average and additional surcharges, and even challenges in getting freight booked in the first place.
Now for the good news you were waiting for: smart shippers (like you!) are finding ways to work around the limited carrier capacity. If your business is willing and able to be agile and adaptable, the road ahead is paved with opportunities, not obstacles.
Expand your freight carrier comfort zone.
Many businesses tend to ship with the same carrier or small cohort of carriers week after week and month after month. It's hard to blame them, as familiarity can breed comfort, reduce surprises and complexity, and is often just easier.
During a time of crunched capacity, however, it's important to break out of your comfort zone and consider leveraging the services of a larger group of freight carriers. Expanding the carrier network you ship through could give you better rates, more lane options, and more container bookings, period.
Be flexible with your freight shipping operations.
With so many strains on their drivers and networks, FTL and LTL freight carriers adore shippers that are willing to be flexible on delivery windows and shipping schedules, and will reward them with better and more frequent service.
If at all possible, ship on off-peak days to help your freight carriers maximize their assets. Also consider pickups during off-hours such as evenings, and expand your delivery windows to help carriers route more efficiently. Carriers are much more likely to make capacity available to shippers who are willing to work with them instead of having expectations that are set in stone.
Keep your customers in the loop.
Improving your shipping processes and relationships with carriers are crucial, but don't forget about another key aspect of your business' success: communicating with your customers.
The tough truth is that your customers are less concerned about capacity issues in the freight industry, and more concerned about the status of their shipments every step of the way. With e-commerce exploding in the last year, customers are quickly becoming accustomed to high transparency into their shipments' journeys.
Make sure you're very familiar with your customers' expectations on shipping insights. Investing in the right resources, such as a transportation management system (TMS) offered through a third-party logistics (3PL) partner like Worldwide Express, is usually well worth the effort. A customer that receives constant communication and updates is likely a loyal one.
Leverage the industry experts.
No pun intended, but it looks like we'll be stuck with this capacity crunch for the long haul. Besides being more adaptable, flexible and communicative, we recommend taking advantage of the profound experience and expertise offered by an industry-leading 3PL like Worldwide Express. Your local team of Worldwide Express shipping pros are ready to partner with you to develop a customized shipping strategy that will help you beat the freight carrier capacity crunch.
Get started with a freight quote today , and let's equip you with the tools you need to conquer the crunch.