Author: Erika

Truck Tonnage is Up1

Compared to this time last year, truck tonnage is up over 2.5%. “Demand for trucking freight services remains strong, but for-hire contract carriers are capacity constrained due to the driver and equipment markets. The spot market has been surging as these carriers can’t haul all of the freight they are asked to move,” said Bob Costello, ATA’s chief economist. “So the fact that the tonnage index hasn’t fully recovered is a supply problem, not a lack of demand.”

In fact, demand has been on the rise since the beginning of 2021. According to the National Retail Federation, retail sales are expected to continue to rise in 2022. “NRF expects retail sales to increase in 2022, as consumers are ready to spend and have the resources to do so,” NRF CEO Matthew Shay said. “We should see durable growth this year given consumer confidence to continue this expansion, notwithstanding risks related to inflation, COVID-19 and geopolitical threats.”

Even though the expected growth rate for 2022 is lower than the 14% annual growth rate we saw in 2021, it is stronger than the 10-year, pre-COVID-19 pandemic growth rate of 3.7%.

 

Women in Logistics2

Many women are taking advantage of the opportunity to work in the logistics industry and contribute to a field that is often considered the backbone of American society. However, women’s presence in the industry is still lacking. In fact, men make up about 90% of the driving and warehouse positions and 70-80% of the positions in the 3PL space.

Are we lacking women in logistics? If so, we’ve come a long way, but what else can we do? How can we attract female talent to the industry? The TIA’s Women in Logistics (WIL) committee has a few plans in this regard, including speaking to high school and college-age students to introduce an industry they might not have ever considered.

 

Save Money with Expedited Shipping3

As shipping delays and supply chain issues continue to disrupt the logistics industry, a huge issue businesses are struggling with is shipping and receiving products on time. These disruptions can cause companies to miss deadlines, leading to the loss of valuable customers and vendors.

However, expedited shipping services can help mitigate these issues and save you money in the long run. Westgate has almost 40 years of experience as a freight broker. We can identify the quickest and most cost-effective transportation methods while also helping to prevent financial loss caused by absent or late shipments.

When you partner with Westgate, we save your account information, needs, and special requests in our customer database. That means that every time you ship with us, you’ll spend less time explaining your situation, getting your inventory on the road and on its way even faster.

 

When you have goods that need to be delivered, there’s no time to waste. LEARN MORE today to find out how we can help you with your shipping needs. CONTACT US today to request a quote!

When a freight carrier delivers freight to your dock, whether LTL or Full Truckload, you should expect to receive the goods intact and in good condition.

 

Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Sometimes there is visible damage, or the count is over or short. Sometimes there is damage inside the container that is not visible from the outside, referred to as concealed damage.

It is important to take the time to inspect the shipment when it arrives and notate anything that is irregular. Documenting and taking pictures of damage is always helpful if a claim is to be filed with the carrier. Damages and shortages can be costly, so it is in your best interest to report the situation and sign the receiving documents accordingly.

 

Steps for Receiving Freight:

 

STEP 1: Anticipate Delivery

Know what is coming and be prepared to unload the freight.

  • Do you have the proper equipment to unload?
  • Is there a dock for delivery, or must freight be delivered to the ground?
  • Can you accommodate a load that is double-stacked?
  • Allow enough time to inspect whatever you’re receiving.

 

STEP 2: Inspect the Packaging

If there is any visible damage to the outside packaging, take a picture and check out the product inside.

 

STEP 3: Document Any Damage

Notate the damage or missing items on the POD (Proof of Delivery). Be specific. For example, in the case of a shortage write, “Order Incomplete, 2 of 3 pallets delivered (pallet containing XXX missing)”.

  •  If reasonable, the shipment should be accepted and steps should be taken to minimize the loss. If it is absolutely necessary to refuse a shipment, advise the shipper so they can work with the carrier to avoid further damage or loss.
  • When accepting damaged freight, take pictures and store the entire shipment in a secure spot to facilitate inspection. Retain all the packing material as well. Without all the material for inspection, the carrier may decline your claim in full.
  • Report the damage or loss to the carrier as soon as possible. Claims must be reported within 5 days of delivery and a formal notice of intent to file a claim must be issued.
  • Establishing this procedure as a standard protocol can help avoid additional fees or complicate claim resolution.

 

STEP 4: Review and Verify

Review the BL (Bill of Lading/ Delivery Receipt) to verify any accessorial being charged. If that service (Lift Gate, Inside Delivery, etc.) was not ordered or rendered, mark the Delivery Receipt / POD accordingly.

 

STEP 5: Sign and Date

Be sure the driver signs and dates both your copy and the driver’s copy of the Delivery Receipt / POD. Also, print and sign your name clearly on the Delivery Receipt / POD. Be sure to keep a copy of your Delivery Receipt / POD.

 

Have questions about the right way to receive a freight shipment or what to do if things don’t arrive as they should? CONTACT US today to speak with a shipping specialist. Work with Westgate Global Logistics to minimize complications caused by poor receiving procedures.

Less than truckload (LTL) shipping can be an extremely efficient way to move shipments when you don’t need to fill an entire trailer.

However, if the LTL shipping process is not implemented well, it can have some potential disadvantages, costing the company more time and money than necessary.

Packing pallets correctly for shipment is a serious safety issue as well and could be full of risk if the business isn’t careful. If your pallet isn’t stacked properly, you risk damaging the product, injuries from toppling pallets or workers tripping over the overhang, and time lost trying to fix the improperly packed pallet. Avoid injuries, damage and claims with these tips.

First, it is important to know how and when crating is more appropriate than skidding. For instance, machinery is usually best to be crated. To the point that some carriers will refuse machinery if only sitting on a skid and not crated. There are also NMFC product codes where the same item will ship at a lower class when crated compared to being only on a skid. Lower freight class typically equals better costs.

Select the correct pallet, skid or crate for your shipment to avoid overhang and support your product. Not all are created equal so make sure you are using one made of material best suited to your shipment and that is still of good quality. Using old wooden pallets is a recipe for disaster by increasing your puncture risk from loose nails or splintered wood. But plastic pallets are expensive but lighter and can be sterilized.

 

Neglecting to stack your cartons using best practices can cause damage to your product but also harm the people working with your shipment. One of the most common causes of damage is due to the shaking or vibration in transit. Vibration can cause the goods to rub against each other and internal parts to break.

How you stack your shipment can reduce the vibration. Improve how stable your pallet is by always placing heavy goods first, stacking up to the edge (but not hanging over), placing boxes like you would place bricks, securing with strapping, and picking the best shrink wrap for your shipment. Pyramid patterns are one of the biggest offenders so avoid using this pattern. The partial interlock pattern is what we recommend for maximizing strength. Proper planning and training can help you to ensure your pallets are safe and stable.

Pallet overhang accounts for a huge amount of damage and injuries. The four vertical corners of the box provide the majority of its stacking strength. If you don’t align the corners of the box above and below, you are reducing the compression resistance of the box and increasing your chances of damage.

 

Though it is often a point that is overlooked, the wrapping technique will impact the stability of your shipment. Scrapes, scuffs and punctures account for a good amount of damage when the shipper doesn’t prepare for all the machinery and movement the load will face in transit. We recommend you create an external cardboard wall around the palletized goods and then properly wrap them in shrink wrap. If you aren’t using machinery, make sure your team is properly trained on how to manually wrap. A common set of mistakes is not wrapping around the pallet enough times (at least 5) and not remembering to twist the wrap every other time around. This will increase the durability.

 

Proper, sturdy packaging and labeling is a surefire way to help prevent problems and claim charges. It would seem an obvious thing to point out that different carriers have different shipping rates. When shipping an LTL load, it is crucial to compare carrier costs in order to get the best rate and avoid overspending when a cheaper solution was available. But if you work with a cheaper solution and they aren’t familiar with how to safely handle your freight, it could actually end up being more costly. Vet your carriers carefully or work with a partner who is familiar with your needs and can pair you with the best suited carrier. Utilizing experts to compare rates and negotiate better deals could save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, not to mention the stress of doing all this alone.

 

CONTACT US today to speak with a shipping specialist about how to palletize your goods!

 

Less than truck load (LTL) shipping can be an extremely efficient way to move shipments when you don’t need to fill an entire trailer.

 

However, if the LTL shipping process is not implemented well, it can have some potential disadvantages, costing the company more time and money than necessary.

In order to ship smarter, a shipper needs to know how to get the most benefit for the cheapest price. Understanding common LTL shipping mistakes makes it much easier to avoid these issues. LTL shipping is a growing side of the freight industry and shippers need to know these common pitfalls in order to avoid a potentially costly shipping mistake.

 

Here are some ways to avoid common LTL shipping mistakes you could be making that hinder productivity and negatively impact the bottom line…

1] Know your dock delivery set up to plan for additional services needed.

2] Include proper labeling and documentation.

3] Train employees in OSHA regulations and the risks associated with not following them.

4] Provide correct load dimensions.

5] Provide accurate class designations.

6] Use the right equipment to weigh the freight correctly.

 

If you’re tired of dealing with the frustration that comes with shipping via LTL carriers, working with an experienced 3PL to manage your less than truckload shipping tasks is a smart idea that can save you a tremendous amount of money.

For more packing tips and tricks, download our free Freight Pallet Packing Guide HERE.

CONTACT Westgate today to speak with a shipping specialist about how to make your shipping more efficient!

Prior to the Covid pandemic, less than 50% of the population had any knowledge regarding supply chain issues.

Today, over 90% are aware of supply chain issues and the impacts they have on our everyday lives.

 

There continues to be significant congestion of ships and an overwhelming shortage of container equipment in addition to staffing problems at the ports. In order to abate anxiety among the general public, container vessels must now anchor at least 50 miles from the Ports of LA and Long Beach until they are called in for offloading. Out of sight, out of mind.  Although unpredictable, capacity and supply will eventually return, which will cause rates to level off somewhat.

Shippers who negotiated contracts early in 2021 will experience the highest rate increases in 2022. Early negotiation created a buffer for the price increases that developed throughout the year. Those shippers may experience rate increases as high as 20%.

While all shippers are interested in transit time, the primary concerns are occurring at the point of origin. It is vital for shippers to get products off their docks, opening floor space and providing the opportunity to invoice their customers. Transit time has become a secondary concern. Unfortunately, we will continue to experience a degradation of service throughout 2022.

It’s nearly impossible to have a lean operation without a predictable supply chain. Shippers must reassess what they consider to be safe inventory levels to meet production goals and may be forced to consider additional warehousing when necessary. Lean and just in time (JIT) inventories must be closely monitored and risk assessments should be performed regularly when permitting vendors to maintain stock.

Carriers have been working around the clock to keep up with the influx of freight. It all begins and ends with drivers. Both shippers and carriers need to work together to make the truck driving profession more appealing. The current commercial truck driver market consists of 92% men and 8% women, with the average age around 49 years old. A campaign to lower the age requirement to 18 years old as well as add more women to the driver pool appears to be a necessity. Despite driver pay increasing by as much as 25%, attracting more drivers has continued to be a challenge.  Carriers have also reported that many current drivers have opted to work shorter hours in response to their increases in pay.

Many carriers are transitioning to target pricing, which is essentially identifying “good freight” versus “bad freight”. For example: How easy are the customers to work with? Which shippers load and unload quickly? How far out of route do they have to travel to their next pickup? etc. The pricing carriers quote will reflect their assumption on what freight works and what freight does not work in their systems.

The overall cost of trucking will remain high considering the elevated costs they are facing. In addition to the rising costs of fuel, equipment and insurance, LTL carriers are forced to use outside TL carriers to supplement their linehaul service.

Keep an eye out for another potential Black Swan Event. The ILWU has threatened a strike in July. While in the past they were agreeable to automation, they are now opposed and that has become a major sticking point in contract negotiations

 

WHAT IS A SHIPPER TO DO?
  • Become a strategic shipper.
  • Limit the dwell time carriers experience on the docks.
  • Make it as easy as possible for carriers to pick up and deliver.
  • Turn containers and trailers around quickly.
  • Provide a desirable environment for drivers.
  • Share important information.
  • Put yourself in the driver’s shoes with regard to your dock processes.

 

If you’re interested in improving your supply chain or reducing your freight costs… CALL WESTGATE GLOBAL LOGISTICS

610-866-8001

 

 

 

 

2 Billion Out-of-Stock Messages

Online shoppers in October were looking for goods but instead found 2 billion out-of-stock messages according to an Adobe Analytics study. That is quadruple what it was in October of 2019. In November of this year, the out-of-stock messages surged 258% compared to November of 2019. The discounts offered were also lower than previous years.

The highest out-of-stock items were:

  • Electronic goods
  • Jewelry
  • Apparel
  • Home and Garden
  • Pet Products

 

It isn’t only online stores that have empty shelves. However, many businesses have tried to beef up their in-store inventory ahead of the holidays. Some are anticipating more in-person shoppers this year as consumers may be nervous about product shipping times. People can also look for alternatives easier in person if they face out-of-stock messages about what they were originally looking for.

 

Warehouse Shortages

Shipment congestion in ports has been making headlines but it also is translating into warehouse issues as well. Warehouse space was already scarce and now is in even more demand. Warehouse vacancy has reached a record low at 3.6% according to CBRE. This is so low that it really isn’t efficient. You need to have a little bit of availability to operate smoothly. Just like a lot of other price increases we are seeing, warehouse rent has gone way up. The net asking rent is at a record $8.92 per square foot. That is a 10.4% annual increase. This is likely to be an issue in 2022 and 2023.

As a result of the shortage of warehouse space, storage trailers are also extremely hard to find. Shippers and manufacturers are ordering more overseas products ahead of time to combat the congestion and delays on container shipments. Storage trailers have been a useful method to keep additional stock on-site without overcrowding their facilities. However, trailer manufacturers are unable to fulfill their orders which is compounding the issue and creating a rise in the cost of both new and used trailers.

 

What’s New in Trucking Sustainability

There has been a lot of build-up and talk around electric vehicle (EV) growth in the commercial truck and van space. And while there are some recognizable names such as Tesla, Volvo, Freightliner, Peterbilt, Mack, etc., there are some original equipment manufacturer (OEM) newcomers on the market. There are certainly some challenges ahead and EV adoption is still very low. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t coming. Daimler Trucks North America had vowed to have carbon-neutral truck lineups by 2039. And Volvo Trucks North America is aiming for the same by 2040. It will be interesting to see how these zero-emissions technologies compare as more players join in the game.

 

 

We’ve got you covered!

Call The Professionals At Westgate Global Logistics To Help Minimize The Impact Of A Difficult Market. 800-637-8001

 

 

Sources:
https://abcnews.go.com/Business/us-warehouses-running-room-amid-supply-chain-crisis/story?id=80906199
https://www.logisticsmgmt.com/article/cbre_data_highlights_the_intersection_of_record_low_vacancies_and_record_hi
https://www.ttnews.com/articles/online-shoppers-face-increase-out-stock-goods
https://www.fleetequipmentmag.com/new-electric-truck-oem/

Currently, there are an incredible number of container ships waiting to be unloaded at the Ports of LA and Long Beach. To add to the congestion, there are more ships en route. Since these two ports account for the nation’s largest trans-shipment centers, this provides insight into the trouble we face going forward.  The sad truth is that the U.S. doesn’t have the infrastructure to handle the tremendous flow of containers headed for our country. Clearing the backlog could take us into Q3 or Q4 of 2022.

A view of the parcel side is equally dismal. UPS and FedEx have more freight than they know what to do with as we enter Q4 of 2021 and approach the holiday shipping surge. Expect the parcel carriers to utilize and initiate accessorial charges to offset their increased costs. Moreover, expect transit time to suffer.

The LTL and Truckload sectors are having similar issues. In addition to their struggle to find drivers and dock workers, these carriers are unable to obtain enough equipment to service their current volume. Shippers are not releasing trailers fast enough and storage trailers are in extremely high demand which has created a significant trailer shortage. Meanwhile, manufactures of tractors and trailers are having difficulty fulfilling orders for new equipment. COVID shortages are only making this matter worse.

What to expect for 2022? Without question, HIGHER RATES.

How can a shipper combat these dire problems? Focus on internal processes, watch for opportunities to consolidate shipments and work closely with vendors regarding product availability and scheduling.

Most importantly, call the professionals at Westgate Global Logistics to help minimize the impact of a difficult market.

800-637-8001

The COVID-19 pandemic completely turned the American economy, businesses, and the political world on its head. Because of this, 2020 was the first year that the TIA held the Policy Forum virtually, using Zoom to facilitate meetings between Members of Congress and the forum participants.

 

Even with the virtual adaptation, it was considered a great success for having enlisted ten sponsors (five from each political party) for the Motor Carrier Safety Selection Standard Act. “This success was a direct result of your grassroots efforts and direct lobbying. The fact is your voice is the most prominent and meaningful for a Member of Congress and their legislative priorities,” said TIA.

The TIA wanted “to build upon that success of getting back to the basics of grassroots advocacy efforts” with this year’s 3PL Policy Forum. The hybrid event, which was held on September 28th and 29th, featured both in-person and virtual registration options.

This year’s forum made more time for TIA Members to be able to meet with their entire Congressional delegation in order to present questions and comments, as well as ongoing high-level briefings from key officials from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

“I never miss this chance to speak on behalf of our industry about the issues the industry faces — now and in the future. The more we get in front of these people, the more we can guide the narrative about our industry and steer regulation to help us all,” Mark Fiorini, president of Westgate Global Logistics.

Mark is dedicated to constantly improving processes for the industry as a whole. “The Policy Forum provides people and businesses an opportunity to sit down with the people who make decisions about our industry, and all of us here at Westgate strive to be at the forefront of these policy changes and trends.”

TIA plans to continue to focus their energy and dedication to 3PL advocacy efforts moving forward, and Westgate will be directly in their wake making moves for a better tomorrow.

 

CONTACT US today to experience our dedication to best shipping practices.

There was once a time when private fleets had a clear advantage in the pursuit of hiring truck drivers. But the COVID-19 pandemic caused many disruptions in nearly every segment of the supply chain that we’re still feeling today.

Freight demand has been rising which means that equipment capacity and trained drivers are in high demand as well. But it’s not just high demand stretching available drivers thin, the trucking industry has about 80,000 fewer available drivers today compared to a year ago.

Even before the pandemic caused many older truckers to retire for health concerns, trucking was already dealing with issues of drivers retiring. According to the National Transportation Institute (NTI), retirement accounts for 54% of the driver shortage we’re facing today.

“These challenges aren’t entirely new, but the pandemic accelerated them,” said Jim ­VonAchen, director of transportation support for McLane Co., a major distributor of groceries and packaged goods based in Temple, Texas.

“There’s just a lot more competition in every segment of the freight and transportation business,” said Brian Johnston, senior director of transportation at Core-Mark International — one of the largest distributors of fresh food, snacks, and tobacco goods to the convenience retail industry.

The increased freight demand brought on by the pandemic isn’t the only factor in the increasing shortage of available driver though. Other factors contributing to the shortage are:

  • Truckers are retiring
  • Other industries are poaching drivers
  • The FMCSA’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse makes it harder for cited drivers to move from one carrier to another
  • Limited seating capacity due to COVID-19 social distancing requirements means driver schools are graduating 30% to 40% fewer drivers

 

This means that private fleets will have to fight even harder to recruit drivers moving forward. Companies need to be more creative in what they are offering to drivers in order to get them to sign on – and stay on. Some companies are offering:

  • Increasing pay rate
  • Safety bonuses and recognition
  • More flexible work schedules, including shorter shifts
  • Programs targeting military veterans that utilizes their military training experience
  • Apprenticeship programs for warehouse workers to transition to driver positions

 

“Drivers want to feel that they are heard and will have someone who will listen and act on their concern,” said Jane Jazrawy, CEO of CarriersEdge, an Ontario, Canada-­based company that develops compliance and safety training tools for fleets. “They just don’t want to be referred to as a truck number.” That’s why, in the midst of this seemingly epic driver shortage, we’re actually seeing a dramatic increase in truck driver hires in the smaller companies.

Sources: FMCSA, QualifiedCarriers.com, Tucker Company Worldwide, Inc.

That’s why working with a smaller company, like ours, can help you stay a step ahead of the rest. It may sound like a cliché, but we value our employees, our customers and the drivers who are hauling our customers’ freight. It’s our goal to ensure that they feel like they are part of the Westgate family.

Westgate has always been committed to fostering long-lasting relationships with our carriers which, in turn, allows us to deliver the best quality services to our customers. See for yourself why businesses depend on us to improve their shipping processes. CONTACT US today!

Temperatures and Freight Costs Are on the Rise This Summer

 

According to data provided by Cass Information Systems (NASDAQ: CASS), freight costs saw a surge in June and are expected to continue to rise moving forward.

The expenditures component of the Cass Freight Index increased 56.4% year-over-year and was 11% higher than in May. In fact, compared to 2019, the expenditures index was up 27.9%

The difference in the year-over-year numbers has been greatly affected by a steep drop in demand due to world-wide COVID-related lockdowns during the same period in 2020. This trend of increasing rates will likely continue due to the widespread lack of drivers, warehouse space, and equipment like trucks and containers.

“Tougher comparisons in the coming months will naturally slow these year-over-year increases, but extraordinary growth rates will continue in the near term, driven by increases in both shipment volumes and freight rates,” Tim Denoyer of ACT Research explained.1

Many industry experts expect the capacity constraints to ease up in the near future as the driver employment rate increases in response to higher pay which should, in turn, change the trajectory of truckload rates.

“Even with material supply constraints, the freight cycle remains in high-growth mode, benefiting from a strong retail economy, tight inventories, and a persistent backlog of container ships anchored in the San Pedro Bay,” Denoyer said. He believes the industrial sector will begin to catch up to broader demand as “record capital goods demand and likely infrastructure programs” play out. 1

The current capacity backdrop could begin to loosen as transportation payrolls expand and extended unemployment benefits have already expired in some states. Additionally, waning stimulus payments and supply constraints (drivers, trailers, and chassis) are weighing on volumes.

Though 2020 was marked by low levels of supply and exceptionally high demand, these levels will not last indefinitely. As they say, the cure for high prices is high prices; the market will eventually correct itself.

 

 

Becoming a Truck Driver Looks Good Through Higher Pay Tinted Glasses…

 

Driver recruitment and retention remains the top priority throughout the trucking industry.

It’s estimated that more than 200,000 qualified CDL holders are not currently working due not only to the COVID-19 pandemic, but also increased compliance with the Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse. Diminished driver school graduation rates, early retirements, and more than 75,000 Clearinghouse violations are also some factors for the reduced number of drivers.

Data shows that driver hiring conditions are getting better, according to Tulsa, Oklahoma-based software-as-a-service provider Tenstreet. A recent report from the company that helps carriers better recruit and onboard drivers noted a “positive driver hiring outlook on the horizon.”

There has been a “slow but steady climb back to January levels” the data shows, with the number of drivers filling out job lead forms and applications continuing to move higher. January is usually a busy month for activity as drivers tend to inquire about changing fleets or jobs at the beginning of each year.

“Overall, we’re starting to see the same general seasonal trend lines the trucking industry is used to, with applications taking a hopeful turn upward in May, which will ideally mirror 2019’s trend of an increase in applications over the summer and into the fall,” the report read.2

A press release cited support from customers and their understanding of “the growing needs of the market” as a catalyst for the pay raise.

 

See for yourself why businesses are depending on Westgate to improve their shipping processes and to keep them informed of industry trends. 

REACH OUT to us to experience our boutique approach to streamlining logistics through an extensive network of resources, trained brokerage experts and unique personal service.

 

 

SOURCES:
1. https://www.freightwaves.com/news/freight-costs-see-june-surge-tougher-comps-coming</a>
2. https://www.freightwaves.com/news/driver-employment-market-may-be-improving-amid-historic-pay-increases