It’s almost the end of summer, and pumpkin-spiced everything season is right around the corner, and it’s also the start to peak shipping. Our team of experts is looking at how to succeed during this busy season and how 2021 could shape up differently from years past.
What is peak season shipping?
There are four seasons of freight shipping and the peak season of shipping starts at the end of the summer. This time is considered a peak shipping season because there is a combination of demand from different markets. Businesses start stocking up for the upcoming holiday season, there is back-to-school shopping time, and retailers try to sell out their inventories from the summer season. During this peak time, freight rates are at the highest, and the capacity is tight.
What are the four seasons of freight shipping?
The Quiet Shipping Season (January – March)
The Produce Shipping Season (April – July)
The Peak Shipping Season (August – October)
The Holiday Shipping Season (November – December)
How to be successful throughout the peak shipping season
Knowing the market
The key to navigating peak shipping season is to understand the truckload demand and market specifics across various industries. In 2020, demand was low, and freight rates were higher than usual. In 2021 however, shippers are less cost-sensitive, and freight volumes are extremely hot. If you plan to work with high-quality carriers, start navigating the market during spring and early summer. Create a proper shipping strategy to help you define the market trends and successfully ship goods.
During the peak shipping season, you need every advantage you can get! Here’s an example, you can efficiently utilize a transportation management system (TMS) to optimize route planning and ensure efficient deliveries. You can also use other supply chain technology to automate warehousing processes and inventory control, providing up-to-the-minute data on your entire operation.
Work with reliable a 3PL
Reliable 3PL here, and we will make sure you have fast and reliable shipping services. Our team knows that freight, more often than not, is time-sensitive, and capacity can be tight. So we work with a wide variety of professional, high-quality carriers to ensure your products are delivered timely and with ease.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center is predicting another above-normal Atlantic hurricane season. Forecasters predict a 60% chance of an above-normal season, a 30% chance of a near-normal season, and a 10% chance of a below-normal season. However, experts do not anticipate the historic level of storm activity seen in 2020.
Most people understand that it takes transportation and logistics to get the stuff we all want and rely upon to our homes and offices, but it could be argued that what our industry does is often taken for granted. The well-publicized challenges sourcing, importing and distributing PPE, vaccines, and other critical supplies over the past year and a half have shined a light, once again, on how crucial our industry is to all of us. It is estimated that the transportation and warehousing segment in the U.S. alone accounts for over 5.5 million jobs and that logistics activities account for nearly 8% of everything we make and sell. The third-party logistics segment alone represents a $233 billion industry. We’re important.
If you’ve seen higher than expected freight rates, we hear you, we see you. There’s a couple of potential factors for these increases. Since Q2 of 2020, the freight markets have shown robust growth, which has raised rates dramatically. While this is good news for carriers and manufacturers, it has caused CPG shippers to pay the price in rising freight rates. In this week’s blog, our team analyzes the various factors that are driving up freight rates and why they are happening.
Factor 1 | Port Congestion
With pandemic-related consumer shopping habits, many West Coast ports operated at maximum capacity during the summer. In 2021, the uptick in imports has compounded the situation and caused even more congestion. March retail sales increased by 9.8% sequentially and 14.3% year-over-year. A 27.7% jump led to an increase in sales of food services. With more imports on board, shippers should brace for capacity constraints. As the produce season gets underway, rates will also rise.
Factor 2 | Produce Season
The start of the produce season typically occurs in February in the southern US. By spring/summertime, it has reached the majority of the US. During this time, capacity is tightened as refrigerated carriers dedicate a lot of their space to hauling produce. Other products that can ship via dry van or on refrigerated trucks will move to van transport, thus increasing freight rates across the board.
Factor 3 | Reliance on Split Shipments
eCommerce brands have been comprehensively using split shipments for years. Firstly goods need to be picked from inventories across different locations. With not enough room on a single truck or plane for an entire shipment, it may have to be divided into individual boxes and delivered individually. Split shipments happen to occur even more often during cross-country or international shipment of goods. The more the shipments, the costlier the shipping costs; therefore, the trend ends up being a pricey affair and often harmful to the shipping ecosystem.
Counter Rising Rates with these Techniques:
One of the most effective ways to combat these high freight rates is planning shipments far in advance. Cargo cost is increasing every day. To avoid paying surged charges and avail early bird facilities, companies have to plan their shipments well in advance strategically. Working with a team of transportation experts (Like Taylor) that uses digital platforms to leverage data on the freight costs to predict rates and trends affecting the rates will help to plan and lower costs.
Work With A Team Of Experts
Work with a dedicated logistics team to ensure conditions do not endanger profitability. Teaming up with a partner like Taylor can help your organization correctly forecast costs and find more favorable pricing through consolidation or mode optimization services.
Transloading services are an essential part of the supply chain, primarily when shipping with intermodal drayage. When cargo is moved from rail to a truck (or the other way around), the transloading area is where an experienced team uses forklifts, cranes, and other equipment to ensure a seamless transfer of freight. Often, shippers want to combine the economic advantages of rail shipping with the flexibility of over-the-road trucking, using affordable rail shipping for the long haul and trucks for final delivery. Here’s our drayage team tips on how to save:
But First, Products That Can Be Transloaded
Standard Rail Commodities: Lumber, metals, paper, rebar bundles, palletized products
Liquids: Ethanol, biodiesel
Oversized: Transformers, wind blades, and machinery
Bulk: Sand, plastic pellets, food product
Service Sensitive/Critical: Auto parts, parcel, frozen food, and perishables
Everything: Bricks, floor tile, coil, solar panels and nearly everything else
Don’t waste container space! Abiding by container rules and regulations, strive to consolidate as much freight as possible into a larger container. For example, the contents of three 40 ft containers can fit into two 53 footers. Thus, reducing your overall costs significantly..
Check Your Container Cartons
If your container is hauling more cartons than the allocated number, you could incur extra fees. Stay up to date on regulations to avoid paying more.
Try To Palletize Your Products
To save space, putting your product on pallets always helps. When freight arrives at the transloading area, palletize cargo to make distribution handling more efficient.
Partner With A 3PL
Taylor has a full drayage team of transportation professionals that know what to look for to help you cut costs and streamline your supply chain with transloading.
The talk of freight, logistics, and supply chain publications has been port congestion. It’s a trending topic and issue for several shippers. From the recent Chinese Lunar New Year to the Covid-19 pandemic, several factors have contributed to the congestion in 2020 and into this year. Port congestion is not over yet for America’s largest gateways. Record import levels could extend through the first half of 2021, according to the National Retail Foundation (NRF). In this post, our team covers the cause of this congestion, the services that can help bypass a possible jam, and our team’s tips and tricks.
What’s the cause of this Congestion?
You could say there’s been a lack of planning and forecasting. This season has been more stringent than others because of the pandemic, excess volume, and the vessel alliances omitting and consolidating ports. For various reasons, it’s creating this large logjam.
Southern California Ports
The Los Angeles and Long Beach ports have been accentuated with the rapid increase in imports since June of 2021. Some difficulties they have encountered are vessel bunching at the port, congestion at the marine terminals, lack of operators and chassis, and warehouse capacity. These ports have both announced initiatives that they will enact to decrease congestion at the terminals currently and moving forward throughout the year.
New York and New Jersey Ports
The New York and New Jersey ports have been experiencing similar issues as the Southern California ports. These two are the largest US gateways receiving imports of eCommerce goods, personal protective equipment (PPE), and home improvement goods during the pandemic.
Some Tips For Navigating Port Congestion:
Can Transloading Help?
Transloading can be great, especially in Seattle/Tacoma, to certain parts of the US. There are direct points from Seattle/Tacoma to Chicago, Minneapolis, and the Ohio Valley that can offer faster transit times. Domestic trailers move daily, versus maybe weekly for ocean containers, so congestion inland isn’t as bad for domestic containers. Often transloading pricing is very competitive from port to door. Learn more about Taylor’s port-to-door services here.
Use an Asset-Based Drayage Team
A partner that owns its chassis can be ideal when dealing with port congestion. Rentals can become unpredictable when ports are jammed; partnering with an asset-based provider will help boost capacity.
Remain in close contact with your 3PL!
This way, you are notified immediately of any opportunities for getting your product where it needs to go.
If you are currently importing cargo via the US Port terminals and are tired of delays, inbox Team Taylor; we are happy to work out a different routing plan and schedule with you to optimize your shipping practices. Our team is vastly experienced with imports and exports and is well equipped to create a solution plan for your company. Please fill out the form below to chat with us or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Have you ever had issues with port congestion or total transit time and cost issues for international freight? Taylor Logistics has a specific team that specializes in services with the New Jersey/New York Ports.
Are you a new business owner that needs to ship your products to your customer? Or has your business grown to the point where you’re going to start shipping? Or are you already shipping freight but want to do so more efficiently with a better understanding of the process? If you answered yes to any of these questions, this guide and our team are here for you. It will introduce you to the freight shipping industry and get you the information you need to ship like a pro!
LTL stands for “less than truckload,” which means that your shipment will take up less than an entire truckload. Makes sense, right? Typically, this means your cargo will weigh between 100 and 10,000 pounds. LTL is the most popular type of freight shipment, and it’s also the most cost-effective form of road transportation. Why? Because the cost of your shipment will be shared with other LTL freight shipments, and you only pay for the space in the truck that you need.
There are four pieces of information that you must-have for a standard LTL quote:
Origin Zip Code: The origin zip code is the zip code where the freight will be picked up.
Destination Zip Code: The destination zip code is the opposite of the origin zip, in that it’s the zip code where the freight will be delivered. Once again, this is the actual delivery address location, not the city or terminal zip code.
Total Weight: This weight includes any packaging or palletizing that is needed to make the freight ready to ship. Ensure that your weights are exact, as carriers will use industrial shipping scales to make sure the weight claimed on the BOL matches the actual weight of the shipment.
Freight Class: There’s a lot more to dive into here, see below!
Understanding Freight Class
Freight class is a standardized system used by carriers to categorize freight for pricing purposes. There are two ways to determine fright class – NMFC codes and density.
NMFC-Based Freight Class
The National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA), a nonprofit membership organization of motor carriers, uses the National Motor Freight Classification® (NMFC) system to determine freight class. NFMC codes are assigned a freight class, which is a number between 50 and 500. This number determines an item’s “transportability” and is generated using four factors:
STOWABILITY: Determined by its ability to be stowed or transported in relation to other pieces of freight on the truck. There is no number-based scale to determine the item’s stowability, and this element of freight class is somewhat subjective.
HANDLING: There is no scale to determine this per commodity. Items that are fragile or have larger than standard dimensions are often at higher risk to the carriers, so their handling level will ultimately lead to higher freight classes.
LIABILITY: Takes into account the probability of the freight shipment being damaged, stolen, or damaging other adjacent freight.
DENSITY: Density is used to find a density-based freight class, while an NMFC code is used to find an NMFC-based freight class. It’s a general rule of thumb that the lower the item’s density, the higher the freight class. If you know your cargo’s NMFC number or can provide accurate weights and dimensions when calculating its density, you will be able to determine the freight class, which best represents your freight.
Density is so crucial in LTL; why?
An object’s density is the measurement of its compactness or pounds per cubic foot (PCF). Your shipment density will dictate how much space your freight shipment will require in a truck or shipping container. With LTL shipping, space is significant because your cargo is being transported along with other freight. When you ship your freight via LTL, you share both the truck and the cost of shipping on that truck with other shippers – which is why LTL is one of the most economical shipping methods.
PTL stands for “partial truckload.” Even in this case, the name is pretty much-clarifying things that, in this kind of load, the load will be as less as half of the entire truck. A load of 8 or more pallets comes under this. Now, in this scenario, you need not book a full truck for this; otherwise, you will be paying full money for half the amount of delivery. In this scenario, you can share the truck with other customers that means you both will share the fare of the truck for your respective halves according to all the factors that affect the rates of freight, including weight and type of freight.
FTL or TL
FTL/ TL means “full truckload or truckload”. Full truckload shipping is the ideal method if you have a large shipment that will fill an entire trailer or at least exceed the volume LTL options. Typically full truckload shipping costs more than LTL shipping. However, the benefits of FTL might outweigh that cost. With FTL shipping, the truck goes directly from Point A to Point B without any stops, making transportation times shorter.
This refers to time-sensitive shipments in which freight has to be delivered within a particular time frame. Expedited freight is most often transported by truck or air. Trucks shipping expedited freight rarely stop along the way to deliver or pick up shipments, making the expedited shipment the priority. Expedited shipments are both large and small, from parcels to pallets to a full truckload of freight.
Companies that work with short lead times and require their packages to be transported as quickly as possible often choose air freight. Air freight is a relatively safe mode of transport, and it decreases supplier lead times while improving the overall level of service.
Rail transportation is an excellent solution for domestic or intercontinental transport, especially for bulky goods. It is a safe and reliable mode of transport that offers fast delivery at a cost-effective price point, and it is also more environmentally-friendly than air and road alternatives. Plus, rail freight doesn’t add to traffic and roadway congestion like other modes of transportation.
Talk With Taylor
If you are seeking logistics support, we’d love to hear from you. You can head over to services to learn more or check out the many industries we work with to ensure top of the line logistics solutions. Send us a note to connect about how we can help your company grow!
Freight brokers act as the medium between carriers and shippers. They have the experience, the network, and the resources to fulfill orders and get shipments to their desired destination. Expertise is the key to providing real value and genuinely making an impact in the supply chain.
It’s crucial to partner with a freight broker who is an expert in efficiency, transportation planning, and reducing your most significant logistics expense: getting your product into the customer’s hands. Our team is diving into the reasons freight brokers are an essential piece of your supply chain and the strategies that lower overall transportation costs.
Best in Class Technology
Whether you need less-than-truckload (LTL), truckload (TL), or expedited shipping, smart freight agents have the right technology in place to meet your needs. The best freight brokerage firms allow them to negotiate the best possible rates with the most reliable carriers and automate processes related to shipping and payment, ensuring you a speedy and safe delivery. Real-time dashboards give freight agents complete visibility into every aspect of the journey.
Brokers look at the size and features of a shipment and the urgency of which it needs to get to its destination. With many possible modes –LTL, TL, intermodal, expedited freight, and air shipments––brokers advise on the best method to get your shipment there for the lowest cost to meet your delivery timeframe.
Relieves the Headache of Back-Office Overhead
Leave the logistics of coordinating to a freight broker, you have enough on your plate! While one might think it will be more economical to work directly with carriers, that’s not the case. The time spent evaluating quotes, costs, and transit times, selecting a trustworthy carrier, arranging pickup, monitoring the products journey and delivery – not to mention troubleshooting any issues – isn’t worth the cost. A freight broker has the entire process down like a well-oiled machine and will be able to help you cut costs and expedite service.
Moving freight is a complex and complicated business. Don’t cut corners by searching for reliable carriers yourself and hoping the process will manage itself. Leave it to freight brokerage pros at Taylor Logistics. Team Taylor knows the freight business, and they’ll put your mind at ease while saving you money along the way. Contact Taylor today.
Definition – Drayage is typically used to describe the trucking service from a port to a rail ramp, warehouse, or other destination.
History – The word drayage originally stems from the term dray, a low cart without fixed sides that is used for carrying heavy loads a short distance. Although a dray is defined as a cart historically, a dray may be any vehicle used to transport heavy loads a short distance, such as a truck or sled.
Intermodal Rail Ramp Drayage
Taylor established interchange agreements with major rail ramps and steamship lines for pickup and delivery of Cincinnati drayage. The Ports of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky have been ranked the busiest inland port in the nation, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Navigation Data Center.
Drayage is a term used to describe the moving of container freight over short distances, mainly in the same city between rials facilities, ports or other shipping hubs.
Drayage moves can include:
1. Moving cargo from port to port or rail to rail
2. Port to the rail yard
3. Port to warehouse/shipping hub
4. Facility to the port, rail yard, or another facility
The history of Drayage
In history, the term drayage originally stems from the term dray, a low cart without fixed sides that could be used for carrying heavy loads a short distance. Although dray is defined as a cart historically, dray may be any vehicle used to transport heavy loads a short distance, including a sled, wagon, or carriage.
In the early years, drayage services were considered a risky move for shippers and IMC’s. Today, a majority of that risk is gone, and rail intermodal is an essential part of most supply chains’ transportation portfolio. Drayage services have proven its value, experienced growth, and earned the respect of the Class I railroads as well as world-class shippers. It stands on the threshold of a new ear of growth as challenges mount for long-haul truckloads. While a lot of long-haul conversions have taken place, regional opportunities in the east are proving drayage services are not just a mode for cross-country freight moves.
Ultimately, any successful logistics operation starts with proper planning; let our team be your drayage advisor. Being in Cincinnati Taylor is located next to two major inland ports that service the entire midwest region. In addition to our local ports, our fleet also services Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, and Chicago. From picking up freight and moving it to the next hub, Taylor drayage services are an efficient solution for your intermodal strategy.
The information below represents average container sizes and limitations for steam-ship line equipment. There could be variances in the dimensions between some containers and the numbers below. Additionally, these numbers represent the containers’ limitations; in many cases state laws further limit the weight capacity of these containers for over-the-road transport.