News about the shortage of truck drivers has plagued the transportation industry for some time, and the backup at maritime ports from the holiday season still an unpleasant memory. But these issues only scratch the surface of problems from the global supply chain disruption that began in 2020.
For California business owners, it is crucial to be able to anticipate how current trade and supply chain challenges may impact your business, and to find ways of protecting operations when a dispute arises over late deliveries, lost or damaged goods, or unanticipated freight charges.
Businesses in Long Beach and surrounding areas can benefit from an informed legal perspective to assist in drafting effective contracts and negotiating resolutions that protect business interests and minimize operational challenges.
The roots of the warehousing crisis
When offices and stores shut down operations in early 2020, effectively halting production of goods and services, the global expectation of lower demand was short-lived. Online ordering created an economic boom that quickly became challenged by the shortage of shipping containers, too many ships entering ports in Long Island and elsewhere, and an acute shortage of truck drivers.
Increasing demands in the e-commerce market have made businesses more reliant on an already strained transportation sector to ship goods directly to consumers. Unfortunately, the model for the lean stockpiling of raw materials and the overreliance on production from factories in India and the Far East has focused a new spotlight on warehousing woes.
Major retailers such as Lowe’s or Amazon can better handle the massive influx of goods by sending them to central warehouses. But continued demand has caused new issues for creating storage space. Land scarcity, especially close to metropolitan areas, is a critical challenge as companies try to create more space to store goods. With limited space to store their freight, inbound vessels leave containers to pile up on docks or keep containers close to port.
Managing transportation challenges in 2022
With inflation and gas prices on the rise as well as labor shortages and supply chain backups, navigating freight transportation challenges in the trucking and shipping industry will require creativity and flexibility:
- Being flexible with other modes of transportation, as well as taking advantage of cross-docking or the use of a flat trailer or step-deck trailer for temporary storage or transport.
- Being open to other port locations.
- Anticipating delays by arranging pick-up and delivery appointments that maximize hours of service requirements while fitting in with the schedules of local and area truck drivers, thus reducing costs and delays.
- Identifying the shipment’s needs with a driver’s capabilities.
Being able to move freight while saving time and money can help close the gap created by chronic supply chain delays.