Every sector of the economy and every business experiences seasonality in some way, and shipping is no exception. We'll discuss LTL seasons by quarter in this post and provide some advice on how to handle seasonality in your LTL shipping.
Supply and demand play a significant role in LTL shipping, affecting freight rates, capacity utilization, the cost of delivering your goods, and how simple or challenging it is for you to locate a carrier to move your loads. Market factors have an ongoing impact on shipping, and seasonality has an effect on the amount of freight that is moved each quarter.
January-March (Quarter 1)
Winter weather affects a large portion of the nation in the first quarter, and the business is still recovering from the hectic 4th quarter and Christmas shipping. In January and February, freight numbers are typically lower, but as spring approaches in March, they start to rise.
April-June (Quarter 2)
As product is gathered and transported to markets in the spring, freight volume increases significantly. When this occurs, carriers experience a rise in demand, which drives up prices and limits capacity. Additionally, carriers can pick and choose their goods, and they enjoy transporting food because they can charge more due to its perishability and urgency. Because of this, shipping companies will have a harder time finding trucks to transport their goods during produce season and will have to pay more.
July-September (Quarter 3)
For many shippers and carriers, the third quarter is their busiest period of the year. Manufacturers and distribution facilities are working hard to ensure that products arrive on store shelves in time for customers to make purchases while retailers are stocking up for the holidays and back-to-school. Freight volume and rates are at their highest points of the year during Peak Season.
October-December (Quarter 4)
Retailers continue to sell products and restock their shelves as Peak Season continues into the fourth quarter in preparation for the hectic holiday shopping season. Additionally, shippers are under pressure from holiday deadlines and closures and want their freight transport before the new year, which causes demand and freight volumes to rise along with costs, and capacity to become increasingly limited.
Shipments from the south rise as spring approaches. Produce and plants from the south are carried north due to its year-round growing seasons, which leads to an imbalance in capacity as a result of all the shipping from the south to the north. This means that shipping from south to north will cost more, while shipping from north to south is an excellent time to plan because you can get better prices because carriers can almost certainly find a return load.
Understand when and where seasonality occurs.
A wave pattern describes how products flow from south to north; it starts sooner in the southernmost regions, and then moves farther north as the temperature warms.
Always consider the weather
Extreme weather, particularly heat and cold, can have a severe impact on some products. Consider employing a refrigerated trailer if you are carrying products like electronics, prescription medication, or cosmetics. Same goes for transferring fruit, frozen items, or flowers.
Demand, pricing, and capacity are all impacted by seasonality in LTL shipping, so it's important to be aware of this and plan accordingly. The greatest advise we can give is to collaborate with Shipit4us to assist you in overcoming seasonal shipping problems.
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