5 of the Biggest Headaches Facing PTL Shipping This Year
Posted by Fernando Correa ● Mar 17, 2023 2:19:49 PM
The PTL (Partial Truckload) industry is worth almost a trillion dollars, and this figure is only expected to increase.
With this rapid growth comes new industry problems, such as increases in fuel prices, labor shortages, cargo theft, and more.
Since we’ve never faced these issues at this scale, they require new and creative solutions.
So to make your 2023 run a little smoother, we’ve compiled a list of the five biggest headaches you’ll likely face this year and how to overcome them.
#1) The rise in fuel prices is affecting shipping costs
When fuel prices increase, everything becomes more expensive.
Although there’s nothing you can do about the rise in the cost of fuel, here are a couple of tips to help your business save money:
- Plan trips ahead of time
- Choose your vehicles more carefully
Plan trips ahead of time
You can waste a surprisingly high amount of fuel by looking for a destination while driving. If you have several trucks and every single truck is doing this, it can cost you thousands of dollars.
A cost-effective way around this problem is always to plan trips and any alternative routes before the driver even enters the truck, as it’ll help with saving money on fuel.
Choose your vehicles more carefully
The type of vehicles you have also plays a major role in fuel consumption.
The bigger the truck and engine, the more fuel it'll burn. So when buying new trucks for your PTL shipping organization, fuel consumption should be one of the main factors to consider.
#2) Labor shortages are making it difficult to find qualified drivers
Another significant problem facing PTL shipping this year is the lack of qualified drivers. This makes it harder to find talent that'll transport your goods safely. Less qualified truck drivers also mean that the salaries of these drivers are going up, putting more stress on your business.
Fortunately, there are ways you can protect yourself from labor shortages:
- Use online marketplaces
- Focus on retaining existing drivers
Use online marketplaces
The internet is your best friend if you’re facing labor shortages. Countless websites like Indeed and LinkedIn allow you to post job ads. These websites have millions of daily users, so you're accessing a large pool of potential candidates.
When writing a job description, a rule of thumb that we like to use is to write like you're talking to a customer.
This means hooking their attention early and convincing them why they should join your organization over the competition. Maybe you offer a good amount of paid vacation days, or there's a lot of opportunity for growth within your team.
It doesn't matter what makes you stand out as an organization, communicate this in your job ad.
Focus on retaining existing drivers
You don't have to worry about attracting new talent if your current drivers stay with you for several years.
This is why we recommend focusing on retaining existing drivers.
When you build a loyal base of employees and you treat them well, you're bulletproofing yourself from talent shortages.
The easiest way to retain truck drivers is to constantly ask for feedback on any day-to-day sticking points they might face. Gathering feedback and acting upon it makes drivers feel heard and constantly improves their work experience.
For example, if eight out of your 10 drivers feel overworked and struggle to meet quotas, bring in more drivers to ease their workload.
#3) There has been a recent increase in cargo theft
Reports show that there has been an increase in cargo theft of 15% from 2021 to 2022. This means that around $223 million of cargo was stolen in 2022.
This can result in significant losses to your business. But you can protect your cargo by implementing the following tips:
- Look out for hotspots
- Use high-quality locks and tracking devices
Look out for hotspots
The best thing you can do to protect your cargo is to avoid hotspot areas in the first place.
These hotspots are usually near busy ports, where hundreds of cargo truckloads pass through daily. If you don't know where these hotspots are, feel free to meet with other PTL shipping industry professionals; most will be more than willing to help.
Once you’ve identified a few hotspots, consider working out alternative routes and avoiding them.
It might be longer and require more fuel, but it'll allow you to reduce the chances of cargo theft.
Thefts also occur more frequently during the holidays and weekends, particularly Saturdays. You could avoid transporting cargo during these transit times; if that's not possible, implement additional safety measures.
Use high-quality locks and tracking devices
If things do go south, you want to be prepared.
On top of basic safety tips like parking in secure places, keeping doors locked, and being vigilant, we recommend using high-quality locks and tracking devices.
Securing your truck's cargo door with a strong lock is necessary. You don't want to try and save money when purchasing cargo locks because cheaper locks can easily be broken with a crowbar.
Kingpin locks are also necessary because they prevent thieves from pulling up to your tractor and driving away with your truckload shipment.
And in the worst-case scenario, if someone steals your cargo, a well-hidden tracking device can help the police find it.
If you have the capital and you’re transporting expensive items, investing in theft protection devices that disable electrical, fuel, and hydraulic systems is always a good idea.
#4) Road congestion is causing delays and increasing shipping costs
You've probably heard the old cliche, "Time is money." This cannot be more true when it comes to PTL shipping.
Road congestion is causing serious shipping delays, thus increasing costs. So if you're looking to protect yourself from the increase in road congestion, consider these best practices:
- Use mobile apps that anticipate delays
- Stay up to date on traffic reports
Use mobile apps that anticipate delays
One of the best ways to avoid road congestion is to use mobile apps that anticipate traffic delays and provide alternative routes.
These platforms use GPS imagery to gain a view of roads during traffic, and it'll notice patterns like when roads start piling up. With this information, the app estimates how much traffic you'll encounter on your route. If it's too much, it'll map out another route.
If you want to be even more accurate, you can install GPS devices on your trucks to track when it's in slow-moving traffic. After a few weeks, you'll know where the traffic is and how to avoid it.
Stay up to date on traffic reports
But it doesn't matter how good the technology you're using is; sometimes, emergencies happen. Maybe there has been an accident, or police started pulling over drivers, resulting in road congestion.
Technology can't predict this, and this is where a good old fashion radio can help.
Listening to the radio while driving can inform truckers about obstructions ahead, and they can adjust their route to avoid any road congestion.
#5) The new tariffs are putting a strain on the company's finances
Tariffs are taxes imposed by governments when companies import and export goods. As times get tough, governments are enforcing new tariffs to generate additional revenue.
So it’s important to streamline the financial side of your business to account for these costs.
Try implementing these strategies:
- Use Cargobot Pool
- Research regulated products
Use Cargobot Pool
Cargobot offers next-generation digital freight solutions that can ease the strain on your company's finances. This helps offset the costs of new tariffs.
Cargobot has a suite of digital products designed around the needs of inland shippers.
For example, with Cargobot Pool, you can move partial truckloads hassle-free and say goodbye to freight overhandling, transit delays, cross-docking, and inefficient shipment manipulation. This ultimately boosts profitability and eases your profit margins.
Research regulated products
Many countries charge additional tariffs on certain items, which aren't inexpensive. In some situations, tariffs can cost several thousands of dollars, depending on what you’re shipping.
And these products aren’t always obvious. Certain states will regulate a specific product while others might not.
So by researching and learning which products have additional tariffs, you avoid unnecessary penalties and fines that can potentially eat into your margins.
Streamline PTL shipping with Cargobot Pool
The PTL industry is currently facing problems such as increased tariffs, fuel prices, and cargo theft.
Fortunately, Cargobot Pool can help. It lets you use digital technology to streamline the PTL shipping process. From here, you don’t have to worry about the spoilage of refrigerated goods and any product damage that may occur when shipping.
Cargobot Pool also uses advanced algorithms to find the best route, so you can move more goods while enjoying lower shipping rates.
Topics: Shippers, Trucking industry, Cargobot Pool