Cleveland trucking

Cleveland Trucking Favored Over Rail by Shippers

Shipping companies are increasingly favoring Cleveland trucking services over rail to avoid supply chain bottlenecks and ensure on-time deliveries.

As reported recently by The Wall Street Journal, U.S. intermodal transports (which involve railroads carrying containers and truck trailers) have fallen by 12 percent in the first six weeks of 2022 compared to last year. Even as manufacturers and retailers were scrambling to import and transport goods in the last six months of 2021, reliance on rail was slipping. Even though both Cleveland trucking and railroad companies recognize the rising demand of long-distance freight transport (500+ miles), shippers are increasingly leaning on highways over railroads. This is largely thanks to shortfalls of equipment, warehousing space, and labor in rail yards – and that’s across all supply chains. This inevitably results in erratic and vexing delays for modes of transport that rely in whole or in part on rail.

Intermodal transportation does rely on trucking, but typically only for the final leg of the delivery. Under normal circumstances, intermodal transport is an effective way to move key goods. It tends to be cheaper, too. However, it’s also slower and more complicated. In an era of supply chain uncertainties, long-haul trucking has proven to be the more reliable option.

Toward the tail end of 2020 and through the first part of last year, railroads were still making considerable gains, chugging along to keep the supply chain moving. But then last summer, rail yards in the Midwest (namely, Chicago) started to see major bottlenecks. Both railroads and warehouses struggled with lack of space and too few workers. Shippers east of the Mississippi River were reporting up to 30 percent delays in container unloading and deliveries. To help resolve the issue, Chicago railroad companies imposed substantial restrictions on incoming cargo for several days. This cleared the backlog, but there were still ongoing bottlenecks at other ports across the country. Shippers, looking to make up for lost time, sought more dependable supply chain solutions to get their products out of ports and into warehouses. They turned to long-haul trucking, and they’ve stuck with it as the months have worn on.

Experts opine that since the start of the pandemic, intermodal transport has ceded roughly 1 percent of its market share to long-distance trucking. That may not sound like much, but it breaks down to about 30,000 additional truck moves a week. Truckload volumes from L.A. to Chicago are up more than 130 percent over the last year. That has increased trucking rates, but Cleveland trucking companies like On Time Delivery & Warehouse still have additional capacity. That’s a good thing considering the way that consumer spending habits have shifted the last two years from services to goods, resulting in skyrocketing imports.

Cleveland trucking companies

Cleveland Trucking Companies Seeking More Drivers

Following U.S. market trends, Cleveland trucking companies are among those seeking to hire more certified drivers amid sharp increases in consumer demand and tight shipping capacity. Some have been increasing wages since the demand for trucking spiked last summer, when the national economy first began emerging from lockdowns intended to stymie the spread of the coronavirus. That demand continued through the holidays and hasn’t slowed since.

At On Time Delivery & Warehouse, we provide qualified truckers with competitive pay, benefits, bonuses and a safe, positive working environment. Truckers are key to our operation, which includes delivering client goods to locations near and far – intact, on time, every time.

The Wall Street Journal reports shipping volumes are likely to remain strong for the foreseeable future, as the economy kicks into even higher gear with increased government aid and vaccination rates. Shippers will be searching for Cleveland trucking companies with competitive freight pricing, and we strive to deliver on this as well.

Cleveland trucking companies

Cleveland Trucking Companies “Cautiously Optimistic” About 2020

Like the national trucking industry, Cleveland trucking companies have been working to acclimate to rapid changes and significant challenges that have cropped up in recent years. Among these:

  • Too much capacity (mostly added to the market in 2017 and 2018, followed by freight market slowing in 2019);
  • Depressed spot rates and contract rates;
  • Rising carrier costs (including insurance, equipment and driver wages);
  • Higher demand for faster deliveries;
  • Driver shortages;
  • Increasingly stringent federal safety regulations (with more hours of service rules likely on the way).

Although some of this was actually good for shippers (lower spot and contract rates, for instance), the trucking industry saw a wave of bankruptcies (nearly 800, according to FreightWaves.com). While concerning, the upside of this is that national trucking overcapacity was reduced by about 24,000. This is why highway transportation experts at the recent National Industrial Transportation League summit expressed “cautious optimism” about 2020.

Cleveland trucking logistics

Effective Communication Key in Cleveland Trucking Logistics

Communication is a core component of any successful supply chain in terms of efficiency, security and transparency. Yet a stunning amount of Cleveland trucking logistics firms lack efficient communication solutions.

Trucking and logistics teams are responsible for moving freight across significant distances, sometimes with multiple stops, while collaborating closely with various shippers, warehouse managers and other stakeholders. Team communication is essential to ensuring deliveries arrive when, how and where customers want them. This is increasingly important because orders and shipping windows are growing smaller. Cleveland trucking logistics companies that aren’t adequately communicating – internally and externally – are risking their bottom line and that of their customers.

Poor communication can result in:

  • Wasted time;
  • Loss of money;
  • Ineffective use of resources;
  • Reduced worker morale;
  • Missed innovation opportunities;
  • Unsatisfied customers;
  • Public relations headaches.

It’s easy enough for trucking companies to presume that whatever communication systems they’ve been using for years will continue to work just fine indefinitely. However, as the Cleveland trucking logistics experts at On Time Delivery & Warehouse know, communication inefficiencies can take months or even years to become apparent. That’s why we proactively evaluate our communication systems on a routine basis. We’re committed to making sure that the supply chains for which we are responsible are as transparent and uninterrupted as possible.