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The Summer Planning Guide for the Shipping Industry

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For most people, summer is a time for poolside barbecues, endless beach days, and family vacations. But for shippers, the season is one of the busiest times of the year, with companies in every industry moving their inventory in preparation for holiday shopping. On top of the strain on resources brought on by the peak season, summer shipping also brings with it seasonal challenges like higher temperatures and altered traffic patterns that can throw off routines.

Maintaining efficiency, quality, and streamlined operations is critical year-round — especially since each season comes with its own unique challenges. Here are some tips to help you plan ahead and safeguard your operation against costly inefficiencies and disruptions during the summer.

4 Key Considerations for Summer Shipping

Summer doesn’t just mark a change in weather patterns; it also changes consumer behavior, shipping demand, and more in ways that affect the entire supply chain. When June rolls around, shippers should watch out for:

Route Volatility

Once the weather heats up, worries about icy roads give way to concerns about extreme weather events like storms, heatwaves, and wildfires. These events can be sudden and unexpected, requiring shippers to re-route on a dime to avoid affected areas or ensure the safety of shipments. Mitigating the risk of these disruptions is only becoming more urgent as climate change increases the severity and frequency of extreme weather events, like the wildfire in Maui.

In addition to changes in weather patterns, summer also sees seasonal traffic patterns, including busier roads due to vacations and other summer activities. This can cause congestion and delays that make routine shipping routes less efficient than usual. Stakeholders need an agile route planning system that can track these risk factors and help drivers change course to avoid traffic holdups and unnecessary fuel expenses.

Higher Summer Shipment Volume

Summer often coincides with a higher TL and LTL shipment volume due to changes in consumer behavior, as well as retailers moving inventory to stay ahead of holiday demand. As consumers engage in more outdoor activities and vacations, retailers see an increase in purchases of warm weather clothing, outdoor equipment, and seasonal food and beverages. What’s more, retailers often stock up on inventory during the summer in anticipation of back-to-school sales and major holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas.

This uptick in shipment demand to meet holiday inventory needs can stretch resources thin for shippers, particularly in terms of capacity constraints and increased competition for transportation services. Shippers need to plan well in advance for these constraints if they want to meet inventory needs.

Special Handling Challenges

Due to high temperatures, heat-sensitive cargo like perishable foods make efficiency and route optimization extra important to keep costs low and prevent spoilage or contamination. Refrigeration in unnecessarily long transit times can quickly increase costs and risk exposing products to unsafe temperatures.

Shippers may need to alter their trailer packing strategy and leave more empty space between items in trailers to help insulate from high temperatures. Complex handling requirements make it difficult to consolidate loads, so route optimization becomes even more important to controlling costs.

Staffing

The ongoing labor shortage, coupled with the need for employees to take their regular PTO, can make it difficult for transportation companies to ensure they have adequate staff levels to handle volume in the summer. Transportation software, by virtue of streamlining workflows, allows companies to maintain existing shipping volumes and throughput with less staff, significantly reducing labor costs. And because modern transportation suites are more intuitive and easy to use than manual processes or legacy software, it’s much faster to train and onboard new employees, reducing the time it takes for workers to become productive.

Steer Clear of Summer Shipping Challenges With 3G

To manage all of the variables summer can add to route planning, capacity utilization, and load optimization, shippers need end-to-end software dedicated to over-the-road transport. 3G offers an industry-leading transportation suite that helps users with every aspect of transportation management, shipping, carrier selection, integrations, and more, all in one easy-to-use platform. Using 3G for summer shipping supports:

  • Real-Time Visibility
    3G captures and visualizes all shipping data in a single solution that grants full-picture supply chain visibility. This enhances decision-making and communication to avoid disruptions caused by extreme weather or increased demand, and helps keep customers informed about their shipments.
  • Expansive Carrier Network
    The platform features an extensive homegrown network of trusted carriers, so users always have the best choices and backup options to avoid shipping delays.
  • Fast Route (and Re-Routing) Optimization
    3G allows users to quickly re-route and re-optimize so they can adapt quickly to unexpected traffic, extreme weather events, and other summer hazards.
  • Improved Capacity Planning
    With 3G’s comprehensive insight and algorithmic planning capabilities, shippers can easily optimize and manage loads to ensure they have enough resources available to meet increased summer demand.

For decades, users have trusted 3G to help them deliver optimal results to their customers. Experience the difference with the platform yourself by scheduling a free demo.

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Author

3G

Publish date

June 3, 2024

Categories

Shippers

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