The laws of supply and demand are well known to all business operators. Few realize how strongly trucking companies rely on supply and demand to function. We also don’t blame them. With free two-day shipping becoming the standard, shipping occurs automatically. Most of us know that it is more intricate, but how much more complicated it may surprise you.
LTL Truck Transportation Mostly Have Four Active Seasons
Market conditions have always affected the trucking industry, from capacity to rates. Still, there’s usually some level of predictability.
There are four seasons in the logistics work. You have:
- The Quiet Season (January – March)
- The Produce Shipping Season (Produce Shipping Season (April – July)
- The Peak Shipping Season (August – October)
- The Holiday Shipping Season (November – December)
During the quiet season, freight volume is always down. In contrast, we don’t have to deal with bad weather conditions. Weather in most countries isn’t the most shipping-friendly. After the busy holiday season, the transportation industry enjoys a slower period to recover and plan for the more active months.
Produce shipping season begins in spring, with volume picking up. Since carriers have more loads to choose from, the market tightens, prices rise, and shippers tend to need help finding available trucks. The rates rise for everyone, including non-produce shippers. With many companies fully booked transporting high-paying produce loads. It can be extra tough on other shippers to get their freight on its way.
In peak season, the produce boom has died down, only to be taken over by back-to-school shipping and preparation for the holidays. Rates continue to rise during peak sales season.
In 2022, the typical capacity trends are off-kilter. Why?
The 2020 pandemic and a multitude of other factors have led to several unforeseen changes in the logistics landscape. The supply chain issues weren’t entirely new, but the lockdown led to unpredictable demand and an unprecedented labor shortage. The problems aren’t over. High fuel and equipment prices have put many small carriers out of business. It’s much harder for independent drivers to get a foot in the door or continue existing operations, placing even greater demand on larger carriers.
Most larger carriers need help to keep enough drivers on staff, however. The result is that the excess capacity usually happens before peak season isn’t there. Supply contracts early, resulting in an unprecedented change in typical annual trends. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. This year’s seasonal shifts might include less pronounced drop-offs than usual.
While numbers are up, 2022’s peak season remains unpredictable
Are you confident about demand for the next few months? If you’re like most business owners, the answer is no. As shippers like yourself do their best to plan ahead and hire trucks in case demand over the coming months exceeds their expectations. Logistics companies are unsure what the second half of 2022 will look like.
Since our customers have varying predictions for their upcoming needs, fleet owners can’t predict much of anything. This year has been a roller coaster, with our volumes impacted by everything from a backed-up port to manufacturing slowdowns. When sudden drop-offs happen, drivers leave to seek additional work, leaving fleet owners short-staffed when things start up again.
We have a steadier volume year-round than most – Even with the rambling capacity trends. We do our best to operate with full transparency and consistent, competitive rates. If you have any questions about what to expect in the last few months of 2022, give 6g Logistics a call, and we’ll be glad to help.
Stop searching and connect with 6g Logistics if you really need the best delivery and shipping solutions for your eCommerce business and routine needs.