customs brokerage, freight forwarding and truck transportation

US Trucking Challenged

: Transport

Challenges in US Trucking Industry 2018-02-12

Several steamship lines (Hapag Lloyd and Hyundai Merchant Marine) have issued similar bulletins to trade on the serious state of U.S. trucking that has impacted negatively on the supply chain.
By definition a multimodal shipment relies on several modes of transport in order to function; for the average shipment that includes marine, rail and then trucking (along with all of the infrastructure that exists between these modes) and all have to mesh and function properly in order for a movement to be successful.
Trucking is under serious pressure and while it might not be so much of an achievement to have a container brought in from a distant point of lading, fulfilling the final mile is becoming a mounting challenge.

Feedback from the carriers is along the following lines:
The past months have brought many challenges in the trucking industry in the United States. While most of these challenges are beyond our control, they are impacting door delivery for both import and export cargo.
We would like to share some information for your understanding and provide recommendations to help us serve you better. 

Volume & Weather issues
  • Continued high cargo volume, with some locations facing record breaking numbers in volume growth (e.g. Savannah)
  • Larger vessels releasing more containers at the same time
  • Less working days for Christmas and New Year’s holiday closures
  • Severe winter weather and freezing temperatures for several weeks
Regulation & Intermodal Trucking Industry situation
  • New Governmental Regulations: Electronic Logging Mandate (ELD) went into effect in December 2018, strictly limiting drivers to max. 11 hours of service
  • Aging work force and a large number of drivers leaving the trucking industry combined with an existing driver shortage
  • High oil prices pulling truckers from hauling intermodal to hauling crude oil
  • Fewer new trucking companies entering the market
Other factors
  • Decrease in free time at the rail ramps given by Class I Railroads
  • Chassis shortage mainly due to weather and increased volumes
We have been sending truckers pre-advice in advance of cargo arrival to prepare capacity as well as making vessel schedule improvements to help delivery planning.
Please consider the following suggestions to help all parties involved reduce delays and avoid additional costs. 
  • Provide delivery orders and contact info along with all related documents in advance
  • Load/unload containers within the allotted loading/unloading free time (hours) to avoid layover charges due to the driver running out of hours
  • Be flexible with warehouse delivery scheduling and rescheduling
  • Understand the impact of regulations (e.g. ELD) and how it affects your demands
  • Clear your shipments at the port instead of moving them in-bond on the rail
We will continue to communicate with our customers and seek solutions to these issues. We are working with all our service providers to keep your freight moving in a timely and reliable manner.
Read more about the ELD Mandate here in an article from Supply Chain Drive.
The situation is the same for all importers whether the store/door delivery is fulfilled by the ocean carrier or an intermediary (NVOCC, freight forwarder, CHB, etc.).
Clients who dispatch their own drayage providers already have experience with this shortage of capacity.
Despite our vigilance and the contingency planning of the marine and truck carriers that we all rely on, there are additional charges accruing and cargo will bear those expenses that are unfortunately unavoidable.
Please contact your Milgram Client Services representative for any additional information.


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We strive to make things simple for our clients by doing them better, and work hard to meet and exceed our clients expectations.

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