Truck capacity goes hand in hand with truck rates: the lower the capacity – the higher the rates. Simple math! We have witnessed the usual seasonal rate spikes in recent years, but outside of that, major rate increases have been rather limited.
What is happening today?
It is anticipated that several factors will put a strain on truck capacity in the nearest future, and, as a result, drive the rates up. The widely discussed ELD, a mandate is one of the major contributing factors. The carriers will have no choice but to be compliant with the Hours of Service regulations which will inevitably affect general truck capacity. Moreover, high truck driver turnover and a shortage of quality drivers are already seen throughout the industry.
What can you as a shipper do to help keep your rates down and keep your carriers around?
The major thing to focus on is optimizing your loading process. With the implementation of ELD, carriers will be even less likely to tolerate detention. If slow loading/unloading cycles are common for your facilities, you might be putting an even bigger constraint on your capacity.
How can you fix that?
First of all, analyze your loading/unloading processes and determine what is causing delays. Is it possible to streamline it?
Often, delays are caused by the lack of administrative routine and general inefficiency – paperwork is not ready, miscommunication between company employees, or even no freight. Standardizing the process and implementing efficient procedures will help ensure smoother loading and unloading routine.
Inefficient dock or yard management and actual loading/unloading process may be causing delays as well. Reviewing and evaluating the productivity and upgrading processes is not a waste of time. Monitor the yard activity – it’s often possible to increase productivity by, once again, implementing certain processes or investing in your yard upgrades, which will pay off in the long run.
The most important thing to keep in mind – congestion grows in a progression. It’s one of these things which tend to pile up and only get worse. Stay ahead of the game and don’t let it get out of control. The ability to provide efficient and quick loading and unloading will give you extra points and help maintain mutually productive and successful relationships with carriers.