Peak shipping season 2022 has proven to be one for the record books, with unprecedented volatility in the global economy forcing businesses into a chaotic and never-ending game of catch-up when it comes to getting shipments out the door and delivered on time.
View some of the key issues and statistics along with what businesses are seeing and how they’re adapting to the challenges of 2022’s uniquely unpredictable peak shipping season in the infographic below, and continue scrolling for our full report.
Or if you’re looking to go deeper into the issues behind the statistics, data, and surveys outlined in the infographic and tips highlighted here and receive comprehensive guidance on navigating the chaos of a perpetual peak shipping season, download our guide now.
How can shippers adapt when peak shipping season doesn’t end?
Factors contributing to supply chain disruption in the past year and through the peak shipping season are myriad and complex. Consumer spending, much of it online, is increasing at a steep rate despite concerns over inflation. Meanwhile, labor tensions and shortages threaten the viability of shipping operations and make delivery estimates increasingly unreliable, leading to widespread frustration and mistrust between businesses and their customers. When you add worldwide port congestion, a container crisis, skyrocketing fuel prices and inflation, a glut of backorders left over from the height of the pandemic, and fluctuating freight rates into the mix, obvious or easy answers to controlling costs, capacity and delivery times have eluded even the most seasoned logistics professionals.
Amid all these market pressures, the specter of Black Friday and Cyber Monday is looming just around the corner, with sales expected to hit $158 billion, up from $8.9 billion in 2021. Despite shoppers’ concerns about inflation and higher prices, demand for Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals have resulted in the extension of this buyer’s holiday into a month-long marathon event. Businesses have been scrambling since early 2022 to prepare enough inventory in stock to meet projected demand. Many sellers have begun to plan ahead by pushing ads that urge consumers — whose online shopping habits have created more demand for fast delivery than ever before — to order well in advance of the holiday season this year, so they aren’t caught up in a last-minute buying frenzy that stifles the already overwhelmed shipping industry. Nevertheless, businesses are bracing for the onslaught of sales and shipping on the horizon.
All things considered, businesses are under a tremendous amount of pressure to make shipping operations as efficient and cost effective as possible while still providing the quality of service their customers demand. How can they manage to meet such lofty expectations amid all of these complex challenges? It all comes down to two major factors: getting shipments out the door quickly, and providing reliable on-time delivery. As we outline below, there are plenty of challenges to overcome in these areas, but by planning smarter shipments and better managing disruptions to keep them moving, you can ensure that you stay ahead of potential issues down the road and deliver on time while keeping costs down over the holiday season.
What supply chain challenges are making it difficult to get shipments out the door?
Three main components are currently contributing to the difficulty of getting shipments efficiently out the door and on the road. As with many other industries, shipping is suffering from a persistent shortage of workers and is operating at a deficit of 80,000 truck drivers. This lack of drivers causes logistics managers difficulties in procuring freight and securing it at a stable, affordable price.
The next challenge is the fact that over the recent decades many businesses have embraced Just-in-Time deliveries, which worked well when markets were more predictable. However, in today’s chaotic global economy and increased demand for almost instantaneous order fulfillment, 45% of businesses are searching for a more flexible, sustainable model to replace JIT.
Another major challenge is that, in spite of rampant inflation, consumer spending has increased by 18% in 2022. Most of this spending comes in the form of online shopping and the expectation of fast doorstep delivery, which of course puts further strain on the already overtaxed supply chain — especially during holiday sales events of November and December.
Why are shippers finding it difficult to deliver on time during peak season?
Today, shippers find themselves facing multiple barriers to getting freight to its destination on time and at a cost that keeps their business solvent. While new federal infrastructure legislation promises to make improvements in the future, currently failing infrastructure, including impassable roads and bridges, a lack of visibility into these issues leads to time-intensive circumnavigation and routing changes, as well as traffic that keeps drivers stuck in gridlock for hours at a time — all such events lead to enormous costs to the trucking industry during the busy peak shipping season.
Add to that the increasing risk of severe weather events, ranging from hurricanes and tornadoes to floods and wildfires that frequently leave truck drivers stymied or rerouted again onto longer, slower routes. These kinds of weather issues account for 12% of trucking delays in the US today, and without clear visibility into current and approaching weather conditions, the cost of these delays can be high.
And even when trucks finally arrive at their destination, the lack of essential workers on docks means that drivers are subjected to longer detention times — around 20-30% of their total drive time — just waiting to get the freight unloaded.
What can you do to keep peak season shipments moving efficiently and affordably?
While all of the challenges outlined above can seem insurmountable at times, logistics and technology leaders have come together to innovate and provide businesses and consumers alike with what they need without sacrificing undue time, money, or quality. The issues facing the shipping industry will most likely persist for years to come, so waiting for global economic factors to stabilize is not a viable option for those hoping to stay in business for the foreseeable future. There’s no better time than now to embrace the right partner to ensure the success of your business as well as that of the broader industry.
As logistics operations become even more complicated during peak shipping season, throughout the holidays, and into the new year, it’s crucial to have all of your supply-chain partners aligned to your strategy. Shipwell’s 3-in-1 solution helps you do this by bringing powerful capabilities together within a single platform. By combining data-driven shipment planning and optimization capabilities along with proactive issue management and analytics, advanced visibility technology you have the power to break free from many of the issues that typically hold businesses back during this chaotic time where peak season never seems to end.
Looking to avoid the struggle that comes with sourcing capacity and ensure on-time deliveries this peak shipping season? It’s time to consider a better solution. Request a personalized demo today to see how Shipwell’s tools and technology can help you break free from peak season chaos to deliver on time, and on budget.