Peak shipping season starts in mid-August and stretches to the end of autumn, usually until Thanksgiving. Peak shipping season occurs because of increased demand across many markets during these months. It is prime time for retail season. Also, businesses start stocking up for the upcoming holiday season, there is back-to-school shopping, and general retailers try to clear their inventories from the summer season. During this peak time, freight rates are at their highest and the capacity is tight.
During this surge, the demand grows and supply lowers, which causes tight capacity, high freight rates, and a headache for the retail and logistics industry. However, this is an annual occurrence, so carriers and companies can prepare for these conditions in advance. Every year, regardless of the trends, advanced planning and consolidation will help you navigate the tough season.
The key to successfully navigating peak shipping season is to understand the truckload demand and specifics of the demand 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 smoking hot. According to ACT Research, freight volumes will be up 40-50% YoY compared to the shutdown period from 2020. While this means more possibility to negotiate a better contract, the capacity will remain tight. If you are planning 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.
In the peak shipping season, speed and reliable shipping service are the most prevalent concerns for shippers. Freight is often time-sensitive, the capacity is tight, and customers’ expectations are higher than ever. Work with a wide variety of professional, high-quality carriers to ensure your business can access the trucking capacity needed to move your shipments during this time. Your ability to navigate this season also depends on your shipping provider or 3PL. Work with forwarders and services that provide visibility into the supply chain through freight tracking and offer freight insurance.
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