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How Highway Congestion Affects Freight Transportation

highway congestionThe life of a truck driver can be stressful in many ways. Spending long hours on the road, the need for constant concentration, and the responsibility for freight security and on-time delivery. Additionally, apart from all of these unpleasant elements of a trucker’s day, there is a lot of wasted time and frustration because of highway congestion.

How much does highway congestion cost?

The Department of Transportation (DOT) estimates losses of the trucking industry caused by highway congestion at $63 billion annually, and 13,500 miles of the current system are consistently slowed down below posted speed limits.

In the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) survey in 2018, the top-three most congested lanes were Atlanta’s Interstates 285 and 85 North, New Jersey’s I-95 at SR 4 and Chicago’s I-290 at I-90/I-94. In 2014, highway congestion loss in Chicago alone has reached $1.5 billion, as the city contains 25% of the most congested highways in the U.S.

What is the negative impact of road congestion?

It is a global issue that results in huge money loss, fuel waste, hundreds of failed delivery deadlines and tons of unbearable stress.

  • Adds operational cost
  • It’s impossible to precisely forecast shipping deadlines
  • Delivery delays that lead to customer dissatisfaction and higher product prices
  • Extra costs for wasted fuel and driver hours
  • Stress for drivers, logistics managers, and shippers

All of these interrelated factors create evidence of how road congestion affects not only the freight transportation industry but also the global economy.

How to reduce highway congestion?

Road congestion is a big headache in the trucking sector. So, industry experts try to find efficient solutions to reduce the impact of the problem. Here are the most relevant options to unload American highways:

  • Better route planning
  • Utilize near-shoring as a strategy to reduce the time spent on transportation
  • Cross-docking and centralized warehousing
  • Investing in the infrastructure
  • Better utilization and development of different transportation modes, such as rail

Ultimately, road congestion can be resolved on a global level only with a governmental investment in the infrastructure. However, you can reform your logistics strategy and plan routes more efficiently to mitigate the impact of highway congestion.

The Importance of Carrier Connectivity

Capacity tightening, driver shortages, and other industry challenges are having a big impact on shipper operations. To have an effective transportation management system, you must move freight from origin to destination in a reliable, efficient, and cost-effective manner. This is no manual task.

Carrier connectivity is a priority to some and ignored by others. This will dive into the importance and value added in building a TMS system with carrier connectivity in mind.

Connectivity + TMS

According to a Gartner’s Research Director, Bart De Muynck, “How well you run your transportation network has a direct correlation to revenue.” Maximizing this correlation means considering all parts of a TMS – including carrier connectivity.

Some companies choose to skip this step in the decision-making process, and those that do see a slower ROI.

De Muynck states that the benefits of connection carriers into a TMS are substantial, regardless of how the shippers choose to do so. Visibility is a top supply chain priority for most companies, and automated connections and collaborations will improve access to real-time information.

This real-time data will subsequently result in better visibility over your transportation network. This helps shippers to more effectively manage issues such as driver shortages and capacity crunches.

Missed Opportunities

There can be countless missed opportunities if you are not actively engaging in carrier connectivity.

If your company develops an innovative new technology, and you don’t share that with your partners and carriers – that technology adds no value to your business.

iStock-639198068.jpgImportance of Technology

At PLS, we maintain a proprietary, web-based technology platform that compiles and analyzes data from our large network to serve our shippers and carriers.

Technology is a crucial component in most company’s transportation management services. This ensures accurate, real time data which is a foundation of many businesses.


Collaboration is Key

Increasing efficiency and saving money are two main focuses of companies in today’s landscape.

Carrier connectivity creates an environment for collaboration between shippers and carriers. When these two parties collaborate, money is saved and supply chain visibility is increased (therefore increasing efficiency).

Many TMS systems facilitate this collaboration through electronically exchanging information, such as extra capacity on a truck. This aids in the collaboration process, driving all company’s bottom lines.


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