The transport of freight is a 365-day a year business and each year presents a particular set of challenges. The seasons, however, usually take on a certain pattern. Even during the pandemic, transportation and trucking still followed seasonal shipping patterns.
Understanding this pattern helps logistics and transportation companies forecast, plan and structure their years, ensuring that they can keep up with demand and operate as efficiently as possible, no matter the broader market conditions.
This is especially useful in our current times of such uncertainty, the industry impacted by challenges ranging from labour shortages to surging fuel costs to geopolitical instability.
Defining the four seasons of logistics
January – March
Due to lower freight volumes in these months, we can call this period the quiet season. The festive period has passed, and low temperatures and snow make for unpredictable roads and challenging transportation. The industry is catching its breath from the end-of-year rush and getting back to more normal schedules.
The volume does increase in March, however, as spring approaches. This means that January – March are great months for planning and establishing your goals for the rest of the year and anticipating challenges on the horizon that could lead to slowdowns and bottlenecks.
April – July
With the arrival of spring comes the produce season. After the quieter months of January – March, volume rises and demand follows. Freight companies usually have more shipments to choose from and can therefore be more selective in which jobs to take on.
Farmers are harvesting their crops and need to get them to market immediately. This urgency means produce shippers are willing to pay more for their loads, and regional carriers transition their fleets to serving the demand. This leaves non-produce shippers in certain areas desperate to find trucks; for the trucks they do find, the rates are often significantly higher. In these months, it’s wise to engage in detailed research of your regions, to ensure minimal impact from the produce market.
August – October
The peak shipping months. The produce season is ending but it’s “back to school” time, which makes for increased sales and shipping volumes.
In anticipation of the approaching festive season, companies are shipping products throughout their facilities to make sure they have enough stock. Rates increase and freight volumes are at their highest.
November – December
The festive rush is here. During November and December, shippers struggle to place their final orders and get everything out of the door. Additionally, as the year is coming to a close, no one wants to leave freight behind and haul it into the new year.
Before everyone finishes to spend time with their families and friends, shippers must fulfil last minute orders, so logistics timetables and transportation capacities tighten.
This is a characteristic snapshot of a calendar year in shipping. Each year has its own unique challenges, of course, but the seasonal patterns remain fairly stable, giving you a baseline to work from. Recognising these patterns plays an important role in forecasting and staying ahead of market shifts. It enables logistics and transportation professionals to adapt, make any necessary adjustments and stay on track.
Sprint Logistics: your logistics partner for all seasons
Sprint Logistics possesses the deep industry experience and know-how to help you navigate challenges in any year and in any season. With our range of seamless end-to-end supply chain solutions, from warehousing to fulfilment to ecommerce, we take the worry out of shipping and enable you to concentrate on running and growing your business.
Contact Sprint Logistics today and learn how our efficient and cost-effective solutions can help you achieve your logistics goals.