Weather Affects Your Freight Shipment in 5 Ways

Weather Affects Your Freight Shipment in 5 Ways

by Jacob Martinez

When it comes to shipping freight, bad weather can cause all kinds of shipping issues, from delays to increased costs – none of which are good for your business. Understanding how weather can affect your freight shipment gives you the knowledge you need to plan ahead and possibly avoid some of the common issues that result from bad weather. Below are 5 ways weather can affect your freight shipment and how you can prepare for what Mother Nature throws at your supply chain.

trucks stuck in lot during bad weather to evacuate

5 Ways Weather Affects Your Freight Shipment

#5 Road Conditions

Trucking and truckers are the backbone of the American economy, but they can’t do anything if the road conditions aren’t safe. Road closures could happen if flooding or too much snow accumulates on the road. That means an alternative route must be taken, possibly extending the transit time. As frustrating as that is for all parties involved, safety is the top priority for truckers on the road. Keeping truckers safe also means keeping your freight shipment safe, even though hazardous road conditions might delay delivery times.

Hauling a 4-ton 18-wheeler while carrying thousands of dollars of products in the trailer can be stressful in itself. When you add in poor visibility, traction issues, rapid braking, and other drivers on a dangerous road, freight trucks’ drivability gets trickier.

#4 Terminals

Much like roads that may be closed temporarily or are open with limited capacity due to abnormal weather, freight terminals are no different. Terminals may either close completely or conduct limited operations. This isn’t just for the facility’s safety but for the people working in that terminal who are keeping it operational. Safety is the top priority for everyone involved. If the terminal has limited access during bad weather, some shipments will go out, but shipments could be delayed. Terminal closures occur when it’s too dangerous for anyone to work at the freight terminal or drive on the roads.

#3 Guarantees and Expedited Shipping

Opting for guaranteed or expedited shipping services is an additional cost that puts your shipment at the top of carriers’ priority lists. But, when unexpected, dangerous weather comes along and disrupts the timing of your shipment’s transit, nothing is guaranteed anymore. Remaining aware of weather conditions along your shipment route helps you plan whether or not you should spend money requesting these services. It helps you manage your expectations in terms of estimated transit times.

#2 Power Outages

If the power goes out, the freight world can’t do much. Hurricanes, tornadoes, severe blizzards, and other extreme natural disasters damage infrastructure, power lines, communication channels, and more. That makes it difficult to do things vital during the freight shipping, like getting updates and statuses on your freight. Additionally, truckers can’t fill up at gas stations in an impacted area, and it becomes a big mess. Working with a 3PL can help you mitigate some of these headaches by giving you access to powerful transportation management software that can help you track your shipment. Additionally, many 3PLs keep track of inclement weather for their customers, keeping you in the loop no matter the circumstances.

#1 Capacity Limitations

When a natural disaster or other forms of inclement weather impact trucks on the road, fewer trucks are available to conduct normal operations. A traffic jam on a major highway due to too much snow or flooding or a driver having to take a different route than expected keeps trucks and truckers out of the capacity pool. So, a storm across the country that may not have directly impacted you could have some kind of influence over your carrier options and rates.

Weathering the Storm

When an unprecedented event happens, you need to be able to adapt quickly so your supply chain can operate at full capacity. Finding solutions while overcoming inclement weather is a challenge to do on your own. That’s why partnering with a third-party logistics company (3PL) like FreightCenter can help you weather the storm. With the help of a powerful transportation management system (TMS), which can not only centralize your search for carriers and lanes optimized to fit your shipment but can also update you on the status of your shipments if any troubles occur, your supply chain can weather any storm that comes its way.

Start by getting a free quote today, or call us at 800.716.7068.

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