Have you considered how the freight industry will affect your construction material delivery in the current national conditions? In these unique times, it is inevitable that freight will incur delays and rate increases. In this article, we talk about the current trends in the trucking industry and what you should plan for when ordering construction materials. Don’t miss these updates. It may prevent you from experiencing delays and help keep your project on-time and under budget.
Slower Loading & Unloading of Freight
The declaration of the 2019-nCoV as a global pandemic and national emergency in the United States caused freight companies to implement steps to protect their drivers, customers, and teams in order to reduce the potential health risk exposure. These industry-wide precautions are slowing down the ability to quickly load and unload freight. Many material suppliers are not letting drivers enter facilities where paperwork and loading is typically fast-tracked. Drivers and carriers have also added their own safety measures such as 6-foot social distancing, mask mandates and limited ability to enter facilities. Although needed and necessary, these precautions increase loading and unloading times.
No Guaranteed Delivery Dates
In addition to the the actions and responses to 2019-nCoV, increased demand on freight carriers has caused most to stop offering guaranteed delivery dates.
High Risk Area Limitations
Along with 2019-nCoV, other obstacles present challenges to freight carriers. Freight companies now have to consider the risk of protests and riots. In some areas, drivers are being attacked and rioters are stopping deliveries by blocking roads and raiding the freight. There are several carriers that have temporarily stopped delivering freight in high-risk 2019-nCoV areas and cities with large protests. If you are in an area with high COVID cases and protests, then proactively ordering your material will help your suppliers prepare logistically.
Higher Freight Rates
Freight volumes are rising and carriers are challenged with meeting demand after laying off or furloughing employees during the first few months of 2019-nCoV. With limited operations and fewer drivers available to bid on shipments, freight carriers have had to increase rates. Additionally, trucking companies must now be selective when choosing loads because of the low supply of drivers and the previous furloughs. Multiple-stop routes are being turned down for full truckloads and hot shot loads. Very few logistics companies have the elasticity to ride this wave, so it may take some time for rates to come down. Expect to see higher shipping costs in the coming weeks. This is another reason to order your material in advance, since manufacturers are taking longer to book and negotiate shipments.
Increase in Fees and Surcharges
Many freight carriers have started adding residential delivery fees to shipments going to multi-family construction sites. These residential fees are typically around $100 per shipment. These fees help cover the cost of additional labor and coordination when a carrier delivers to a construction site. Unlike a shipment delivering to a facility, these shipments require the driver to find someone on site to unload the material. Plus, the streets near construction sites are normally not designated to accommodate large freight trucks. In order to avoid residential delivery fees, make sure there is a specific time frame to deliver, schedule an appointment, specify that a lift gate is needed and have the site personnel ready to off-load the material with a forklift when it arrives
If you want more information on the trucking industry as well as an overview of the recent operations during COVID-19 this article does a great job of laying it all out: https://www.natlawreview.com/article/covid-19-symptoms-felt-across-trucking-industry