Freight shipping every year is determined by the movements of supply and demand. Based on longstanding trends, freight shipping can be divided into four transportation seasons, i.e., the quiet season (from January to March), the shipping or produce moving season (from April to July), the peak shipping season (from August to October), and finally the holiday shipping season (November and December). As different volumes need to be shipped across these different seasons or phases, shippers need to be mindful of fluctuating costs. Rates that worked in February may not work in June. General market conditions, regional or local situations, and other factors can also influence these rates.
Why is it important to plan for the peak shipping season?
Starting in April, freight volumes will start picking up again. With more loads to be shipped, carriers can be choosy with their cargo. Shippers, as a result, will find it more difficult to find trucks to carry their loads quickly, and rates, too, might be affected. Regions that ferry produce might see drastic changes in rates as shipping fresh produce efficiently becomes a priority. Shippers need to be prepared for ‘moving season,’ whether in reference to rates or finding the right vehicle or fleet to ship their cargo efficiently.
With even higher volumes being shipped during the peak season, shippers and other stakeholders need to prepare well in advance. According to a Salesforce report, 23% of retailers’ overall holiday sales took place in the last two weeks of the year, with a 16% bump in year-over-year online sales in the first week of November 2021. This growth indicates the successful execution of supply chain and logistics efforts during the peak shipping season.
So how can shippers prepare themselves in this ‘moving season’ before the peak shipping season hits? What needs to be prioritized? How can shippers ensure a smooth supply chain during this period every year?
While researching the regions they wish to ship to is the natural solution, shippers also have other methods at their fingertips to deal with this. Here are a few tips to help shippers prepare for the peak shipping season during the produce moving season (April to July).
How to prepare for peak shipping season during the produce season?
1. Plan ahead before peak season hits
Manufacturers, retailers, and wholesalers alike will need to ship products during the moving season. For produce, the moving season is when shippers need to plan and address potential capacity concerns. Shippers can find better carrier availability and more efficient shipments by providing notices earlier about cargo that needs to be ferried. This saves the stress and trouble of finding suitable carriers to partner with and may also allow shippers to get better rates.
2. Use technology to fine-tune supply chain inefficiencies
Peak shipping season leads to a rise in freight rates. Inversely, freight capacity plummets, and carriers might pick and choose the cargo they will ferry. This makes it difficult for retailers, business owners, and shippers to manage their supply chain and logistics networks.
A simple but effective solution shippers can leverage is a TMS or a transportation management system. A technological tool that helps manage and oversee tasks as well as predict potential problem areas and find solutions, a TMS can be the answer to preparing effectively for peak shipping season during produce moving season. A TMS system can help fleets to plan the best routes and conduct on-time deliveries. Warehouse and inventory management solutions can also be used to automate logistics processes for last-mile delivery. It is possible to have end-to-end supply chain visibility to make processes more relevant and efficient with technology.
A collaborative TMS like Turvo that connects driver management, transportation management, real-time insights, and more is a solution that allows shippers to increase ROI and create higher margins.
3. Partner with a 3PL (3rd party logistics) provider
Partnering with a logistics provider is an efficient way for businesses to manage their supply chains. This allows them to benefit from the technological expertise and networks that 3PLs bring to the table to make a smooth transition to peak shipping season. 3PLs can assist businesses and shippers with different levels of their supply chain, thus helping in reducing inefficiencies.
4. Move freight volume via a mix of regional carriers and different freight modes
Just like Amazon, which monopolizes the market by owning its supply chain and logistics networks and shipping across different regions and through different freight modes, businesses and shippers can also deploy local intermodal shipping. For example, shippers can choose carriers across air, ocean, and roadways to ferry products.
They can also deploy a mix of regional players for warehousing, last-mile deliveries, and more to increase efficiency and ROIs during peak season. All this planning needs to happen during the moving season, from April to July, for the best results in terms of execution.
Peak season translates to more competition, lower carrier capacity, and potentially higher rates for shippers. But this can be controlled to an extent by avoiding the common pitfalls and preparing in time. Following the tips listed here can help shippers prepare for peak season during this moving season itself. In the future, though, investing in technology and using digital solutions will be the answer.
Shippers can now boost the efficiency of their supply chains with Turvo-powered systems to go digital. Supply chain visibility and collaboration have proven to be essential for survival during the past few trying years. The ever-changing supply chain looks drastically different now compared to a decade ago. It is still evolving and adapting. A strong focus on supply chain visibility and collaboration can make success in 2022 and beyond possible. Contact Turvo today to get started.