Translogistics Blog

Unprecedented Winter Weather Disrupts Transportation Industry

February 23, 2021

Written By: Peter Rio

TLI's Weekly State of Transportation Update

Week of February 22nd, 2021

Unprecedented Winter Weather Caused Nationwide Transportation Delays, Including COVID Vaccine Shipments


Last week’s winter weather events disrupted supply chains nationwide including the distribution of critical COVID-19 vaccine shipments, many of which failed to reach their final destinations on-time. 


LTL Weekly Summary:

Last week’s weather events caused severe delays across much of the country, on top of LTL service levels that were already suffering due to COVID staffing issues. The events last week created the most severe nationwide weather-related LTL network delays and disruptions memorable in recent history. Carriers did their best to keep freight moving as much as possible. Extended closures of carrier terminals caused pickups and deliveries to be delayed most of the week and freight sitting at shipper docks in many major markets.

The Texas markets were the most severely affected by last weeks weather events. Many carriers were not picking up any freight heading to Texas for most of last week and has their Texas terminals completely closed down.

As of today Monday February 22nd, most all carriers worked through the weekend and have lifted their freight embargos as well as reopened all terminals in their networks. This will allow freight to begin flowing this week as the carriers continue to work through backlogs of freight and high amounts of pickup requests. Most LTL carriers are expecting to be back to normal service levels by Wednesday or Thursday of this week.


Truckload Weekly Summary:

The weather events also disrupted freight balances in the truckload sector. Many markets experiences heightened spot rates and limited capacity, while others saw limited freight available as shippers/receivers were closed. In Texas, truckers were stuck on highways for hours on end and looking for available loads that just weren’t anywhere to be found. These market balance disruptions will impact rates throughout this week.

Intermodal service, which was already struggling to provide reliable service, was severely impacted last week as well. Many railyard gate closures or restrictions were put in place, where freight could not be dropped off or picked up from the railyards for much of the week. These backlogs continue into this week as drayage and railyard capacity attempts to get caught up.


International Ocean/Air Weekly Summary:

The international shipping delays and severe capacity shortage continue to make mainstream news, as supply chain disruptions are felt across all industry sectors. After years of overcapacity and declining freight rates, ocean transport has been hit with a severe shortage of available containers along with record levels of containers being “lost at sea” as they have fallen overboard from vessels during transit. 

With such high demand and freight rates between China and the US Ports, many ocean carriers have begun blank sailings heading back to China, where they return empty containers rather than loading US export freight. This allows them to achieve quicker turns and transit times back to China to reload freight at the extremely heightened freight rates.

Prior to the pandemic, approximately half of the freight shipped by air was transported in the cargo sections of passenger planes.  With many airlines cutting flights due to consumers staying home, available capacity for freight has also been severely cut.  Plane capacity has risen in recent months but is still 57% below the 2019 levels, causing air rates to continue to be extremely expensive.


We encourage you to continue to check our Translogistics Blog regularly, as we will continue to post all carrier updates as we receive them.


It is critical, more than ever, that you provide your TLI team with as much notice and flexibility as possible on any freight you may need to move in order to allow us to book the best carrier option at the best rate.


Providing our operations team with a MABD (must arrive by date) will allow them to secure the most cost-effective option for each shipment.


Please contact your Translogistics team at 610-280-3210 for any further questions. 


*article written by Peter Rio, Director of Logistics, Translogistics. Any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out!


Translogistics' Industry Chart of the Week

Total Truckload Rates Overview


Share This Blog

Categories: Awareness

About Our Blog

For the latest insights, tips and commentary surrounding the logistics industry, look no further.  Shippers will find thoughts from the award-winning team at Translogistics covering everything related to your transportation processes and plans.  If you have a question we are readily available at