As many of you know, the past few weeks have brought some challenging times to the people and businesses affected by the major winter storms in the central plains and the southern U.S., causing power outages and safety concerns due to water line breaks and people trying to stay warm. It also caused significant disruptions to many customers in their supply chain. After experiencing a week of seeing major hubs being completely shut down due to these conditions, orders that could not move were being added to a freight market that was already stressed due to COVID-19. These recent issues only add to the following existing supply chain strains from the past 12 months, including:
Cargo surge in western ports – Currently, there are as many as 60 ships at anchor off the Port of LA, waiting on berths to unload goods that will eventually flood the supply chain network.
Declining inventory levels in warehouses – We may have survived last March’s run on toilet paper, but we can expect other staples to experience supply shortages resulting in empty shelves.
An ongoing driver shortage – 40% fewer drivers attended Commercial Driver Schools due to Covid-19 closures. As of the last update from the FMCSA Clearinghouse, close to 55,901 drivers were declared ineligible to drive due to one or more violations. So far, just over 25% have demonstrated a desire to return to trucking.
Corporate Traffic has weathered a lot over almost 30 years in the logistics and supply chain business. We continue to invest in our people, our drivers, our technology, and our relationships to push forward during these difficult times. When the shift to work from home in early 2020 happened, we were ready, and we transitioned quickly and effectively. When states started to open back up, and we started seeing demand return to transportation, we were prepared. As consumers changed their spending habits, we stepped up and met our customers’ demands to ensure their products were picked up and delivered.
Now, as we see the demand for capacity far outpace what we saw in the 3rd & 4th Quarters of 2020, we are ready to meet the issues head-on. We are working extensively with our customers to communicate effectively and proactively with what we see and feel in the marketplace.
Unfortunately, in many cases, there are not enough trucks to support the demand. Many customers have to weigh in increased freight prices to capture capacity or rely on extremely flexible shipping in this market. We are doing everything possible to bring the right capacity to our customers and at the right price.
We know this too shall ease up for any of us who have experienced the “Up’s & Downs” of the transportation cycle. In the meantime, this tight capacity will meet head on with several cyclical events in the next few months which will impact the supply chain, such as produce season, DOT Blitz week and hurricane season, which may now move from June 1st to May 15th due to a surge in May storms in recent years, taking capacity out of the network to support emergency efforts.
Many driving forces are continuing to disrupt the supply chain for many of our customers. If you are questioning if it’s just you, it’s not. We hear from many of our customers daily, and the question is always, “When is this going to normalize?” And no one knows, but we feel like we have some extremely bumpy roads over these next several months.
How We Can Help
If we are not doing business with you or are doing very little, I encourage you to get with your account manager at CT, discuss your needs and let us get involved in your network sooner rather than later. If we can get a good understanding of your business, we can help drive capacity into your network and offer creative solutions to help you achieve your goals. Now is not the time to be entrusting your business with providers that don’t have decades of experience in these types of market constraints. They don’t have the relationships that we have built these past 29 years, and many simply do not have a fleet of assets to meet your needs.
Let us use our people, our drivers, our technology, and our relationships to help you during these difficult times.