boxes on conveyor belt in warehouse

Ensure Capacity by Being a Shipper of Choice

When capacity is tight, being a shipper of choice can help shippers secure space with carriers. Capacity is tightening across the industry, and ACT Research forecasts double-digit growth in spot rates for the rest of this year and 2021, said Tim Denoyer, senior analyst at ACT Research, during a webinar on Sept. 15. Building relationships now and securing capacity can help shippers avoid the spot market.

"In a world that seems to have more and more disruptions, there is no substitute for a long-term strategy of being fair and equitable with your trading partners," said Andy Moses, senior vice president of sales and solutions for Penske Logistics. "Savvy shippers and those who plan to succeed in any operating environment have figured out how to collaborate with their carriers."

Moses recommends shippers work with carriers to find mutual ways to reduce costs. That can include minimizing the amount of time drivers spend at the gate by having efficient check-in and check-out processes.

Shippers should also be mindful of drivers' time when scheduling trucks and work to minimize delays and detention, said Tom Scollard, vice president of dedicated contract carriage for Penske Logistics. "They have to be very cautious when scheduling and make sure that appointments can be met within a reasonable tolerance of when they're asking the trucks to be there," he said.

Penske Logistics has a series of tools in place through its ClearChain® technology suite to help shippers and carriers optimize shipments and improve asset utilization. ClearChain also provides increased visibility into the supply chain, which can help keep freight moving by getting ahead of disruptions so it arrives on time. The technology can also alert locations when trucks are arriving, so receivers are ready.

Additionally, LeAnne Coulter, vice president of freight management for Penske Logistics, said shippers should be mindful of how they're treating drivers. Giving drivers access to amenities, such as restrooms, is essential. Shippers should also ensure they're working to keep drivers safe while in their facilities, especially during the pandemic. "That is becoming incredibly important for companies in securing capacity going forward," she said.