The U.S. trucking industry is short about 50,000 drivers, estimates Bob Costello, chief economist for the American Trucking Associations. The driver shortage ranked first among industry concerns in the American Transportation Research Institute’s annual survey, released last October.
Driver shortage, Electronic Logging Devices (ELD), waiting time at DC’s, FC’s, CFS’s, etc combined with a strong economic performance have all contributed to push forwarder & commercial service needs beyond the trucking industry's capacity to service those needs.
The trucking service challenges are US nationwide. Some areas of the States are more difficult to navigate than others. Midwest and Southeast areas of USA are consistently the most challenging to coordinate.
Advanced booking is very important for smooth movement of cargo. This is especially critical for ocean full container movements. For export FCL booking/loading there is additional challenge of chassis and container equipment availability. While the trucking industry challenges have received most of the media’s news story attention – equipment availability has been a less covered aspect of the overall market condition. Especially in the Midwest/Southeast availability of containers and chassis has been a significant contributor to delayed export bookings. Container haulers are requiring two to four weeks advance notice to secure a booking.
Bookings containing hazardous material are most critical to book up well in advance. While there is shortage of trucks/drivers overall – it is even more pronounced for speciality movements like hazardous material. Insuring the IMO/IATA, SDS and associated documents is spot-on correct from initial booking request is vital.
An observed trend is that when a booking is made with a trucker it is vitally important that all the details be known, communicated and understood at time of initial booking. In addition to the actual driver shortages – the trucking companies struggle to manage their activities from a customer service / administrative level. The customer service and admin of trucking companies are not able to manage any changes effectively.
The overall trucking related challenges will escalate through this year.
Woodland balance all the moving parts to deliver the most efficient service to our customers, having identified and implemented key controls to minimize delays and additional costs.
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