Extreme weather causes shipping delays and disrupts shipment planning, not only in the affected area, but also with a ripple effect that can extend throughout the country. Extremely cold temperatures, floods, hurricanes, forest fires, earthquakes, tornadoes and other weather events are a fact of life, but there are steps you can take to protect your items and keep your LTL (less-than-truckload) shipment on schedule.

weather-impactHow Weather Affects Freight Shippers

Extreme weather disrupts freight shipping in all sorts of ways. First and foremost, weather events can cause accidents on the road, compromising the safety of drivers and the integrity of their cargos. To avoid these risks, freight companies are often forced to keep their vehicles off the road and wait out the storm.
This necessary step causes delays up and down the supply chain, affecting shipments in and out of the affected geography. Some types of weather situations, such as floods, can cause delays lasting months. When this happens, commercial shippers must find alternate means of delivery (anything from air freight to bicycles) in order to stay in business. All of these delays and increased costs can have a substantial impact on local and national economies.

Here are three ways you can reduce your exposure to shipping delays and damage.

1. Expect the Expected

Certain extreme weather events take everyone by surprise, but not all. If you live in Minnesota, you can be fairly certain that extreme cold could come into play and cause shipping delays — knowing this, it is prudent to plan ahead and make your shipment during summer months rather than the dead of winter, if possible. Similarly, Floridians can plan shipments around hurricane season, while Californians have indications when fire danger is high, etc.

2. Give Yourself Plenty of Time

Freight shipments with flexible pickup and delivery dates help you and your LTL carrier work around weather delays economically. If your weather-impacted shipment absolutely, positively has to be there by next Tuesday, your carrier may be able to pull it off, but at a cost, and possibly by exposing your item to additional risk of damage. But if your carrier has wiggle room in the schedule, you can avoid emergency upcharges and make product damage much less of a worry.

3. Prep Prudently

If you are shipping a product in the dead of winter, wrap it in an insulating material (e.g., flexible polypropylene foam) or place it in a thermal container. If the truck should break down in a blizzard, you’ll give yourself another layer of protection. At the other extreme, thermal containers and breathable packaging (e.g., open-cell cushioning foam or boxes with air holes) make sense for shipments coming during a heat wave.

Transit Systems Can Help You Weather the Storm!

With a national network of premiere LTL carriers, we have options upon options for meeting service demands when weather strikes. While no company can guarantee perfection in the midst of imperfect weather, we’ve been helping customers get their shipments safely and promptly for decades.

If you have an upcoming LTL shipment, please contact us for an estimate or to discuss your needs. We are eager to help.