After a sharp decline in freight volumes only a few months ago because of the COVID-19 virus, we have seen a drastic turnaround in the LTL marketplace. Many carriers are now having to use pricing increases to keep less-profitable freight from clogging up their networks.
Many LTL carriers have limited their transactional customer shipments to decrease volumes, embargoed certain areas or terminals across their networks to get caught up, and limited the amount of overlength/oversized freight they are hauling to free up space on trailers. All of this to help support their regular customers and to get their networks operating back at acceptable on-time performance metrics.
Some of the most recent notable events were as follows:
Hurricane Laura: This major weather event, which began in Louisiana and Eastern Texas, only worsened the already difficult transportation environment as many LTL carriers were forced to close terminals in storm affected areas, causing them to get even further behind. The truckload environment remains extremely tight in the affected areas this week, as lane imbalances and rate spikes will remain throughout the next few weeks due to strong demand for trucking capacity by disaster relief efforts.
Click here to review an article from DAT that provides a quick look at how hurricanes affect freight markets.
August Business Levels: August is generally one of the slowest months of the year for LTL carriers in both shipment count and tonnage. Thus, they typically encourage operations staff to take vacation time during this month. With the record volumes in August for many carriers, planned vacation time only made it tougher to improve service levels. TLI is hearing from several LTL carriers that they expect their service levels to begin improving in September as staffing will be back to more normal levels.
LTL Hot Spots Experiencing Significant Delays: Eastern TX, Louisiana, Fontana CA, Los Angeles CA, Cleveland OH, Columbus OH, Cincinnati OH, St. Louis MO, Florida, Seattle WA, Portland OR, Southern Indiana, and Pennsylvania
Suspending Volume Shipments: More and more carriers announced suspended volume shipments to limit large truckload type shipments from getting into their networks
Call Center Backups: Carrier customer service departments and terminals are becoming overwhelmed with phone call volumes about problematic shipments. Response times to get answers from the carriers are drastically increasing.
We highly suggest you take the time to review the recent Journal of Commerce Article outlining the current LTL challenges by clicking here
We will continue to provide you with weekly updates on the carrier networks along
with any noteworthy announcements from the prior week.
Your Team at Translogistics