traffic jam illustrating how Cleveland trucking companies minimize freight congestion risk

How Cleveland Trucking Companies Minimize Freight Congestion Impact

Staring down a mass of snarled traffic on the internet is never anyone’s idea of a good time. But for Cleveland trucking companies, the fallout is more than mere inconvenience. Per the American Transportation Research Institute, traffic congestion costs the trucking industry an estimated $75 billion in added operational costs and 1.2 billion trucker hours.

The ripple effect would extend far beyond trucking firms. Consider that if every truck in America grinded to a halt for 24 hours, gas stations would start running out of fuel, manufacturing would be at a standstill, and U.S. mail and parcel services would cease. If it went any longer than that, food, cars, and jobs would quickly become scarce.

All of this would occur even though trucking represents just one of many modes of the U.S. freight transport system – which just drives home the point of how essential timely truck deliveries really are to a functional, thriving economy. In fact, it’s so critical that the U.S. Department of Transportation has a robust special initiative aimed squarely at reducing traffic congestion.

There are also ways that Cleveland trucking companies can limit the impact of freight congestion – particularly if they’re a third-party logistics operations with their own fleet lots, warehousing, and distribution centers.

Causes of Freight Congestion

Freight congestion occurs anytime goods being moved from source to destination through a supply chain are held up due to too much traffic. Although we’re focusing here on freight congestion on the road, it can also occur at railroads, airports, customs exam stations, and ports.

USDOT classifies two types of congestion: Recurring and non-recurring.

Cleveland trucking companies recognize recurring congestion as caused by lack of functional infrastructure to meet traffic demands. Certain routes simply aren’t wide enough to accommodate the amount of traffic flowing through at a given time (i.e., rush hour). It’s estimated that by 2035, roughly 40 percent of U.S. highways will be at capacity, as will 25 percent of connector roads.

Non-recurring congestion, meanwhile, is the result of an unexpected issue or impediment, such as a major traffic accident, excessive or inefficient regulatory requirements, or inefficiency of drivers, vehicles, or facilities along the supply chain route.

Both types:

  • Increase fleet operations costs.
  • Reduce fuel efficiency.
  • Increase carbon emissions (due to idling).
  • Decrease productive driver service hours.

Given that it can cost approximately $200/hour to transport freight via truck on a highway. Congestion-related delays can increase these costs by 150-200 percent. That impact is felt throughout the rest of the supply chain. A congested, unreliable transportation system will mean suppliers need to carry/stock more inventory just to minimize the risk of interrupted production and deliveries. That can cost 25 percent or more just in warehousing and insurance compared to a leaner, just-in-time inventory business model. Not to mention, the longer an item sits, the greater the chance it will become spoiled or damaged – which will inevitably ding customer relationships.

Cleveland Trucking Companies Like OTDW Strategize for Safe, Reliable Transport

Products-related businesses can only thrive when deliveries are made intact, on time, every time. In fact, customers expect it. On time delivery is often considered just as central to the success of a company as the speed and quality of product development.

Federal regulators looking to address the issue of congestion have toyed with or are implementing some of the following strategies at various pain points:

  • Truck-only toll lanes.
  • City and state freight corridor analysis that can be used as a logistics planning tool.
  • Directing regional transportation planning offices – particularly in urban hubs – to take freight transport facilities (truck terminals, intermodal transfer stations, rail yards, airports, sea ports, warehouse/distribution centers) into account when developing long-term specs. Collaboration among multiple jurisdictions on this front is ideal.

Cleveland trucking companies recognize that Ohio is one of a few states that have fairly well-developed freight programs already. But some of the ways we in the private sector are striving to build on these initiatives:

  • Shifting hours of operation at distribution centers so that trucks can take advantage of off-peak highway hours.
  • Optimizing selection of routes. Sometimes the shortest route by miles isn’t necessarily more efficient than a longer, less direct route if the shorter route is known to get bogged down with congestion.
  • Improving shipment plans. By getting highly-detailed shipper data on weights, load times, etc., Cleveland trucking companies can optimize the shipping process.
  • Prioritizing load optimization. Utilizing less-than-truckload (LTL) shipments where we maximize the capacity of each truck is not only more cost-effective for customers, it’s easier on the roads.

For information on optimized trucking services in Cleveland, Contact On Time Delivery & Warehouse by calling (440) 826-4630 or send us an email.

Additional Resources:

Perspective on Freight Congestion, June 2007, By Crystal Jones, U.S. Department of Transportation

More Blog Entries:

Upside of Cleveland Flatbed Trucking, Aug. 23, 2023, Cleveland Truck Company Blog

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