While most of fourth quarter 2015 produced a little less strain on capacity than many expected, the weeks of Christmas and New Years showed just how precarious is the balance between “comfortable capacity” and “tight capacity.” The American trucking industry, and the number of drivers, continued to grow, masking the underlying economics, by temporarily taking the edge off the supply crunch. That is, until weather in Texas and elsewhere during the holidays complicated the picture, and demonstrated yet again the thin line between capacity that is comfortable and capacity that is tight.
Flooding in Texas, fog and snow out West, left shippers, brokers and carriers scrambling to cover, recover and recover again, loads left behind because trucks hadn’t been able to unload. Weather in one part of the country quickly cascades into capacity changes in other parts of the country. The smart play is to understand your volumes, understand your capacity, collaborate regularly with your service providers, and make your freight as attractive as possible. See “Shipper of Preference” article for more on this.