What to Expect and How to Prepare for Peak Season 2021
While the impact of the pandemic has caused disruption and unpredictability at times within the logistics industry, one thing shippers can always count on is peak season, the busiest time of the year for shippers as they start planning for the upcoming holiday season. As distant as the holidays seem, now is the time for companies to get their logistics operations prepared for what’s to come.
Peak season 2021 is shaping up to be especially challenging, as shippers are already dealing with tight capacity and other market-wide complications. Shippers whose volumes may not increase at this time of year will still be impacted, as strong demand for shipping from other companies can lead to higher rates and limited capacity.
Historically, peak season occurs from August to November every year as consumer demand driven by the start of the school year and the upcoming holiday season begins ramping up. However, this year, peak season has the potential to last even longer than normal and have an even greater impact on shippers due to unique market dynamics.
Here’s what you can expect from this year’s peak season and what you can do to avoid issues during this time.
Increased Freight Shipping Activity
While transportation networks have been strained over the past year due to the impact of the pandemic, peak season will likely spark even more freight shipping activity as more people get vaccinated, businesses fully reopen, and parts of the economy return to pre-pandemic levels. In fact, Logistics Management surveyed more than 100 freight transportation, logistics, and supply chain stakeholders and found that 79% of respondents believe peak season 2021 will be more active than it was last year. Closely following market trends and adjusting transportation plans if necessary will enable businesses to create a successful shipping strategy this peak season.
Continued Tight Capacity Market
Because of the effects of the pandemic, there has been high demand for freight transportation, resulting in a continued tight capacity market. In fact, some carriers have had to cut back on servicing select shippers in order to maintain optimal service levels. The tight market is causing many shippers to compete for space from carriers. As a result, carriers may increase rates on top of the premiums and surcharges many have already added. Working toward becoming a shipper of choice, a company that carriers want to work with because they create a positive and valuable partnership, should be a priority right now for every company. For tips on building strong relationships with carriers, read our shipper of choice white paper.
Longer Transit Times and Delays
During peak season, shippers can also expect increased transit times and more delays that could hurt on-time delivery performance. Shippers can mitigate these issues by shipping freight as early as possible, building flexibility into a shipment’s delivery date, factoring in the extra lead time it may take to source trucks, and exploring alternate shipping solutions.
Work with a Trusted Third-Party Logistics Provider (3PL)
Trusted and established third-party logistics providers (3PLs) are invaluable when your logistics operations are stretched to the max and you’re facing time constraints, tight capacity, and overwhelming consumer expectations. By working with a 3PL, such as Echo Global Logistics, you’ll be able to better manage through this year’s peak season and stay ahead of your competition.
As a leading 3PL, our team at Echo uses a unique combination of industry expertise, best-in-class technology, and award-winning customer service to simplify transportation management for our clients. Our logistics experts are here to help you navigate the freight market during peak season and beyond. We can evaluate your transportation needs, discover efficiencies, and deliver the transportation solutions that are best for your business.
Echo services all modes of transportation, including truckload, partial truckload, less than truckload (LTL), intermodal, and expedited. If you are in need of expedited shipping for your freight, Echo offers hot shot ground and air cargo services all over the U.S. for time-sensitive shipments. Drawing on our network of over 10,000 expedited carriers, and more than 50,000 carriers overall, our team diligently monitors your shipments from origin to destination to ensure your freight delivers on time, safely, and within budget.