Anyone who has worked in logistics knows that existential dread you feel when there’s a problem with one of your loads. The examples are endless, of course: a newly onboarded carrier assigned to pick up at 12:30 calls at 11:59 to say they aren’t empty yet from their previous load; a carrier delivering into a major retailer missed their Monday delivery appointment and was told by the receiver the next available time slot is Wednesday. Shipping delays are so common in this industry that some people use the phrase “freight happens” to shrug off these setbacks. Yet, freight shipping delays usually create additional expenses to transportation costs, whether detention, demurrage, or storage fees, among other things. A Freightwaves report from 2020 suggested that detention time cost the U.S. truck industry over $1bn in annual revenue per year. The report also included some sobering U.S. Department of Transportation statistics that suggest increased detention time also increased the likelihood of road accidents as loading and unloading delays increased driver fatigue and caused drivers to make up for the lost time by speeding on their way to the next destination.
Reducing shipping delays should therefore be the ultimate goal for any shipper or transportation provider. The results may lead to profit loss, drops in productivity, and even road accidents for drivers. This article will highlight three leading causes of freight shipping delays in the logistics industry and provide readers with some solutions to help eliminate these costly expenses.
Three Major Roadblocks that are Holding Shippers Back from Efficient Deliveries
There are several reasons why delays occur when shipping freight, and this section will highlight some of the major ones causing headaches for shippers.
Tight Truck Capacity
Long before the global pandemic, North American shippers and the transportation industry understood the predictable seasonal trends that directly affected truck market conditions. The pandemic has magnified capacity issues throughout the United States, which has added to the delays that shippers experience when moving freight across the country. The seasonality of specific business verticals causes capacity imbalances in the U.S., as carriers tend to gravitate towards the shipping lanes that provide the highest rates of returns. January through March, for example, is usually the slowest shipping season, as consumers hibernate from the holiday shopping frenzy and freight costs are at their lowest of the year. April through July is when freight volume rises due to the produce season, culminating in fluctuating truck capacity and freight rate increases, particularly in growing regions like AZ, CA, FL, TX, and WA. The period between August and October is what the logistics industry refers to as peak shipping season as retailers and consumers alike prepare for holiday buying and back-to-school sales. By the time the calendar reaches the holiday months of November and December, transportation providers are already busy taking loads that are maximizing their net profit margins. In total, seasonal changes cause shippers everywhere to experience the effects of fluctuations in the truck market that cause capacity issues in their supply chain. That’s why it’s important to find a transportation provider that offers total coverage, including the continental U.S. and Canada.
Problem with Timing
The product is at the shipper, but the carrier is not there to pick it up. Sound familiar? Between the back and forth in emails and phone calls, customers, brokers, and carriers all find choice words for one another to use, try to placate the situation, and find suitable excuses for why the truck didn’t arrive on time. Freight happens, right? But what’s the response? If you’re dealing with a broker, this is usually when you receive frantic phone calls explaining why the load didn’t get picked up and how they are actively looking for a recovery. The better solution, of course, is to find a dedicated 3PL that will source capacity that ensures a 95% on-time delivery rate.
Shippers’ relationships with their transportation providers are the most valuable logistics component. Shippers dread it when they reach out to their provider about a problem with one of their loads, and no one answers. Poor communication not only handicaps companies with their ability to figure out supply chain problems as they occur actively, but it also creates delays in finding solutions that will placate the needs of their expecting customers. The relationships that shippers develop with carrier partners depend on proper communication. It is, therefore, important to select a transportation provider founded on a customer-driven approach specifically tailored towards their customers’ individual needs.
The Solutions for Shippers
Let’s face it; most shippers have been burned repeatedly by asset-based companies and 3PLs who promise the moon and the stars to overcome their supply chain woes. Ultimately, most companies come short on their service and operations. Experience in the logistics game is what separates the minority from the rest of the field. Only experienced 3PLs offer shippers the nationwide coverage and truck capacity they deserve to ensure on-time deliveries and steady capacity. Shippers look for transportation service providers that promise exceptionally high OTIF and customer satisfaction rates.
Look to AMX Logistics to Help Eliminate your Shipping Delays
Shippers looking for a dedicated service provider to help navigate roadblocks caused by shipping delays in their supply chains count on AMX Logistics to fulfill their shipping needs. AMX offers over 30 years of logistics experience and a dedicated network of trucks that connects shippers across the continental United States and cross-border into Canada. AMX Logistics is one of the only service providers that guarantee shippers an optimal 95% or higher OTIF rate average on their freight, which helps companies drastically reduce their transportation costs. Countless businesses depend on AMX Logistics to streamline operations and eliminate shipping delays. It’s time for you to contact AMX today!