volumes start to dip—workloads fall and employees need time to regroup. But “that tight market showing up in the rear- view mirror will be in the headlights again in the future,” says Ken Sherman, president of Atlanta-based IntelliTrans, a technology-enabled transportation management service company. Sherman suggests companies use that extra time to plan for the next business cycle. “Now that you’re not ghting res at every turn, it’s time to start asking, ‘what do I wish I had done last year? What technology did I wish I had?’” he says. “Now is the time to make sure that you have it.” 5 “If I were a shipper, I would think of anything I could do to get carriers to want to work with me,” advises Ryan Frederiksen, vice president of operations at Ruan, a transportation logistics provider based in Des Moines, Iowa. It won’t be enough to agree to a particular rate. Organizations must also be considerate of how they use a carrier’s resources. “The shippers who nd capacity most easily will be the ones who get drivers
Averitt Express recommends that shippers prioritize locking in flatbed capacity because it won't loosen as much as dry van capacity.
in and out of a facility quickly, and who don’t hoard equipment or create inefciencies in the carrier network,” Frederiksen explains. “Carriers cannot afford to have a trailer sit somewhere because a shipper isn’t considering the impact their delays are having on the overall network,” he adds. 6 When negotiating, be aware that carriers are looking for long-term partnerships,
and they want to work with organizations that have a similar outlook. “When I talk to customers, they want to plan the next ve years, not the next ve months,” says Matt Parry, senior vice president of Werner Logistics, a third- party logistics provider based in Omaha. “I want to understand who the customers’ partners are, who they have worked with over the years,” Parry says. “And I want to work strategically with them to build a resilient business.” 7 “This isn’t a time to put the shoe on the other foot and take advantage of an abundance of capacity,” says Frederiksen. Despite a loosening market, labor and equipment scarcity could still put pressure on supply networks through 2023. In the past, softer markets might have been viewed as an opportunity to hunt for cheaper rates. This year, shortages could force carriers to be judicious about who they work with. “There’s no short-term play here,” says Frederiksen. “Life will be more difcult for shippers who throw their carrier relationships overboard.” 8 2021 One appreciable difference between this year and last is operating costs. Running a truck costs 20 to 25 cents
Agility is important for both shippers and carriers. When shipments were backlogged at West Coast ports, integrated logistics company ArcBest helped customers find new ports of entry.
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