Shipping freight is never boring, there is always something ahead that makes you sit up and take notice. Let’s take a look at what’s looming on the horizon for SMB shippers in 2019 so you won’t be surprised or negatively impacted when changes happen.
1. Trucks may not be where you need them.
National freight carriers usually plan their truck deployments seasonally. In 2018, all thoughts of using seasonal data to plan for 2019 truck deployments flew out the window as the US began talking about implementing heavy tariffs, and the affected nations made clear that they would retaliate.
Importers got in front of the tariffs by increasing shipments of goods in the first four months of the year. Due to those increases, the need for trucks at shipping ports grew significantly — especially on the west coast. Now, with tariffs again on the rise, freight traffic at shipping ports is on the decline.
What will happen in the second half of 2019? The truth is: no one knows. As noted, “Warehouses are at capacity in many spots, and the trade-off between storage and maritime shipping costs versus potential tariffs have become less clear.”
This means that it may take some carriers you have used before longer to pick up your shipment. The solution is to book your shipments early and leave extra time for both pickup and delivery.
2. Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) strike — again.
We previously wrote about the impact of ELDs on the shipping industry since they became mandatory on Dec. 16, 2017. Unfortunately, the disruption to the industry we saw last year is just the beginning of the ELD saga.
Truckers were given two years to implement the law, and now that two-year deadline is coming up. Any truck that doesn’t have a functional ELD installed by Dec. 16, 2019 can be taken out of service by an inspector.
Some industry analysts say as many as half of the 3.5 million heavy duty trucks on the road today still haven’t been equipped with ELDs. This will likely result in a tremendous demand of ELDs being installed and tested over the next six months. If each of these trucks were out of service for only one day due to ELD installation and testing, that would equate to 1.7 million truck days lost in a six-month period. That’s a tremendous drop in shipping capacity.
Shippers will probably see an increase in freight shipping costs as fewer trucks are available and delays while carriers wait for a truck to be available. The best way to handle this is to:
- Establish a good working relationship with a 3PL for better shipping efficiency since each shipment is a personalized experience in an ongoing relationship.
- Start the booking process early and give your 3PL the opportunity to work their network and find your best deal.
The second half of 2019 looks like it’s going to be challenging for SMB shippers, but with the help of a solid shipping solutions provider like FreightCenter, you don’t have to be taken by surprise or pay an excessive cost.
Count on FreightCenter
Have a shipment to book? Let’s get started, give us a shout! Call 800.716.7608 or online 24/7.