As calendars are flipped in planning departments across the year, trucks are being moved from one region to the other, as demand fluctuates depending on the seasonality in certain sectors. Seasonality is pivotal to road transportation, as a good or a bad peak season can have a lasting impact on a company’s results at the end of the year.
But how does seasonality affect Full Truck Load (FTL) deliveries?
Planning FTL capacity is crucial
While seasonality happens yearly, whether it would be the pre-Christmas shopping craze or the harvest season, demand for road freight exhibits spikes on certain months.
For example, in Europe, in addition to the aforementioned November-December gift buying craze, there are harvest-related peaks. Shipping fresh fruit or vegetables from Spain, including grapes and in turn, wine, or moving freshly caught fish from Norway in late-Spring and early-Summer, to pinpoint a few examples, can be very fruitful.
“However, picking the fruits of your labor following a peak season begins much sooner. Planning the capacity that you can offer to your clients is essential, as not having enough trucks to support your customers can be detrimental to the well-being of the long-term relationship,” says Olgerd Janovič, Business Development Division Manager for Middle and Small Enterprises at Girteka Logistics.
There are quite a few words to describe a good logistics partner, but perhaps the number one is reliability – that you can be relied upon not only in the crucial, time crunching moments but also those regular day-to-day full truck load (FTL) deliveries, making sure to adhere to the agreed KPIs.
From the perspective of a manufacturer, farmer, or even an e-commerce company, the planning also has to be done prior to a peak season.
“While potentially saving on costs via short-notice (SPOT) deliveries is an option, it’s a high-risk game that is the equivalent of skating on thin ice, as the line between having secured enough trucks to carry your goods and not having enough is very delicate,” adds Janovič.
While balancing between risk and reward for customers is a delicate affair, logistics companies have to balance the capacity between regions, as having too many of your trucks in one region can result in you having to either resort to empty kilometer driving or selling off your capacity at a loss or a break-even margin.
One way to balance out a potential overcapacity scenario is, of course, to plan and be proactive in your approach. If utilizing various data and statistics you can forecast that due to the harvest season in Spain you will have an abundance of trucks, you can try your best to proactively look for opportunities to sell capacity to companies that want to ship goods the Iberian peninsula, bringing your trucks to the area with revenue-earning kilometers, rather than empty ones.
“By no means that is an easy task, as some countries export on a much larger scale compared to their imports by road transportation,” notes the Business Development Division Manager.
Still, there are ways to do so – perhaps a good example here would be the e-commerce business that is rapidly expanding across the globe. With the nature of consumers shifting to having their items delivered in an instant, moving goods between distribution centers if agreed upon with a customer can become an option to mitigate the imbalance of capacity. Nevertheless, as mentioned prior, there are options on how to shift the balance during a season, one of which is being proactive in your sales.
At first glance, operating full truck loads (FTL) could perhaps make the task more difficult. While to a certain extent that could be true, as less than truckload (LTL) deliveries can be split into several sectors and selling a part of your trailer’s capacity seems easier, the risk that the supply chain could have a faulty link only increases. That could be a result of a delay at one loading or unloading site, which in turn, could upset the balance and the plan of the remaining deliveries.
“When it is a harvest season, for example, that is a huge risk to take, as the potential shelf life could fade. If the goods are not transported, then they have to be stored at a warehouse locally or a separate location that will only increase the complexity and subsequently, transportation costs of the supply chain,“ states Janovič.
However, peak season is a moment when full truck load (FTL) deliveries shine the most. As naturally, the zenith of a peak season means a lot of shipments have to go out of single, or several locations branded under the same banner.
FTL deliveries are undoubtedly in the spotlight when it comes to a peak season. While during the off-season companies could exhibit problems filling up a truck to the brim, the issue fades away when production output levels are at their highest levels.
“As a result, FTL deliveries can be the more beneficial way of moving your cargo at the beginning of its journey. With full truck loads, the risk of delays is reduced, as a truck is filled with a single customer’s cargo,” concludes Janovič.
Furthermore, Girteka Logistics provides supporting functions to its deliveries, including real-time tracking and immediate response to any kind of deviation in the delivery. In addition, TAPA level 1 locks on the company’s trailers, and dedicated managers for daily communication make sure that not only a load is delivered on time, but it is also done securely. As a cherry on top, the fact that Girteka Logistics is the largest asset-owned logistics provider, the road transportation company can provide tailored solutions that make sure your cargo arrives on time, safely and in an efficient, environmentally friendly manner.