Outlook for Over the Road Capacity
The US trucking market for domestic over the road moves has been taking the same beating as import drayage. Trucking capacity levels have been chaotic this year following the COVID shutdowns in the first part of the year and a summer recovery did not materialize, which lead to an unpredicted early peak season start. Now as we move to the end of the “traditional” peak season (December 19th), Hillebrand’s intermodal and over-the-road partners are advising of the potential of a peak season extension.
The resurgence of freight demand, not only for essentials, but for increased e-commerce and goods delivery, has once again brought underlying trucking issues to the forefront. Capacity is being gobbled up by the influx of imports at the ports, which are seeing inbound volumes skyrocket again. Read more in this recent article from Transport Topics here.
Speed to market expectations haven’t changed despite market conditions and over-the-road trucking pressure is higher than ever to move freight quickly. This has exposed the long-standing driver shortage that the industry has been facing for some time. According to recent reporting by the American Transport Research Institute, even with the COVID pandemic, driver shortage is the number one issue for the fourth consecutive year. It is inevitably linked to the second largest reported issue (driver compensation) as the industry struggles with driver supply directly impacted by eligibility requirements and older drivers exiting the market. The report projects that the shortage will lead to the same levels as seen in 2018 and 2019.
Adding into the new mix is how vaccine release and distribution will impact the industry, particularly reefer vans which have already exceeded capacity. Read more about this in an industry article from Freight Waves here.
In light of this latest industry outlook, NASA’s shipping partner Hillebrand will continue to work with its carriers for updated information on a potential extension. We continue to encourage customers to work with your Hillebrand team and provide advance notification on your order forecasts to secure allocation.