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How carriers can keep their fleets running into 2022

How carriers can keep their fleets running into 2022

This year has been characterized by severely strained capacity and historically high rates. This environment has caused some stress for carriers, highlighting ongoing issues such as the driver shortage and new truck backlogs. It has also given carriers the opportunity to keep their trucks loaded around the clock and cash in big for an extended period of time. Now, carriers should start planning ahead for potential market turns in 2022.

Seasonal surges typically affect various sectors at different times of year. Retail tends to surge from about Thanksgiving to the middle of January due to the winter holidays, and food and beverage usually ramps up around Independence Day. In 2021, however, pretty much all sectors have been impacted by surgelike conditions throughout the year. After a couple of oddball years, shippers and carriers alike are anxious to see how the market rebalances — or doesn’t — after the new year.

“January will be an interesting month. It will be interesting to see just how long the impacts of port bottlenecks will last,” said Maggie Petrovic, Emerge vice president of strategic initiatives. “I don’t think we’ve seen the extent of that impact and how it will affect consumer behavior yet.”

Ongoing factors like increased reliance on e-commerce — coupled with the domino effects of port bottlenecks and manufacturing shortages — will continue to affect the market after peak season has passed. Due to the long-term unusual market conditions seen over the past couple years, the market is unlikely to loosen up as quickly as it usually does after the holiday season. Still, gradual declines in demand and slowed consumer spending in recent months do suggest that some semblance of rebalancing is on the horizon. 

The market is expected to loosen up somewhat as demand falls in late January, but changes will likely be slow and steady. More significant loosening is expected by the middle of 2022 as carriers begin to take delivery of delayed equipment, alleviating some tension on the supply side. 

As carriers begin to plan for lower demand and falling rates, they should consider how they will keep their trucks loaded in a cooler market. The simplest way to do this is to increase the number of loads they have access to at any given time. Emerge offers carriers the opportunity to access more shippers — and more high-value freight — regardless of volumes.

“The difference Emerge is making is that we are connecting carriers directly to shippers,” Petrovic said. “We are vetting carriers and ensuring we provide new capacity, while giving carriers access to Fortune 500 freight they did not have access to in the past.”

With Emerge’s carrier platform, carriers are able to bid directly on contract and spot lanes from shippers of all sizes, including household names like Office Depot and Albertsons. The Emerge marketplace is also free for carriers, making the value clear and unparalleled.

Adapting to market shifts is difficult, especially after long periods of control. While carriers are enjoying loaded trucks in the thick of peak season right now, they should consider turning their attention to the future. Having a strategy in place — and the right partnerships established — before a downturn can mean the difference between thriving and struggling to survive.


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20 December 2021, 16:15