It goes without saying that 2020 was a rough year for us all. Although COVID-19 is seemingly behind us, the economic fallout from the pandemic can still be felt in less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping rates in 2021. As industry experts, we put together this post to inform our customers of what they can expect in the LTL industry for the remainder of this year and, potentially, years to come.
When the pandemic was raging, drivers who contracted COVID-19 had to stop working for a while to prevent the spread of the virus. That driver shortage put a real strain on our industry, and we’re still seeing the effects this year. Many older drivers took early retirements last year to avoid contracting the virus, and their roles still haven’t been filled.
Many companies are actively recruiting new LTL drivers and offering training programs to get them up to speed. However, it might be a while before the workforce is back to its pre-pandemic levels.
Surging e-commerce orders
One of the few industries that wasn’t negatively affected during the pandemic was e-commerce. With so many folks shopping online instead of in stores, carriers saw a huge influx in online orders that needed to go out. A rise in demand often means a price increase, which is exactly what happened in the LTL industry.
Higher shipping costs may continue throughout this year—especially if the driver shortage remains—so business owners should be prepared to pay a bit more for LTL shipping.
Potentially volatile LTL freight volumes
When lockdowns were in full effect, the LTL shipping industry experienced low demand. And as restrictions were lifted, business started picking back up, and now volume is higher than ever. With the vaccine rollouts, we shouldn’t have to go back into lockdown this year. But if we do, carriers may experience low volume once again.
How to set yourself up for success
Just because prices are expected to increase, doesn’t mean your business is doomed. Follow these tips to set yourself up for success in less-than-truckload shipping in 2021:
- Choose the right LTL carrier: The best way to protect yourself and your business during these strange times is to partner with a reputable carrier. A quality LTL carrier will have on-time deliveries and keep their rates as low as possible.
- Be a good partner: Getting quality LTL service is a two-way street. In addition to picking a reputable carrier, be a quality partner by keeping your pick-up appointments and always paying your bills quickly.
- Expect delays: Slower-than-usual shipping times are due to fewer drivers and a higher volume. Expect delays for the upcoming months, and don’t get frustrated if your shipping partner isn’t as fast as they used to be.
Get a quote from K-Way Express, Inc. today
Due to fair pricing, a wide service area and reputable drivers, nobody beats us when it comes to less-than-truckload shipping rates in 2021. Contact K-Way Express, Inc. today to get a free quote for your LTL shipping needs.