Throughout the global pandemic, 3PL providers and truckers have worked hard to keep life feeling as normal as possible for Americans. From groceries and baking ingredients to toilet paper and exercise equipment, hardworking folks across diverse manufacturers and the (food) supply chain industry have delivered in the face of these demanding times.
The Intersection of Grocery Demand + Restaurant and Foodservice Reopening
Now that society is reopening across America, demand for goods – specifically food goods – is peaking again. Throughout the past year, grocery stores stocked up on large quantities of food and perishable goods as consumers scheduled larger than necessary Instacart and grocery delivery orders and stood in lines at reduced capacity stores to fill their carts and eat more meals at home as restaurants closed doors and shuttered indoor dining.
Logistics companies (3PL) and truckers (independent truckers, owner-operators and trucking companies alike) have gone beyond the extra mile to deliver demanding loads in increasingly shorter timeframes, sometimes through impossible weather and national emergency situations (remember that Texas power outage in the middle of the pandemic?!) to fulfill enormous consumer demands, putting a strain on both manufacturers and the supply chain.
Cold Chain Food Delivery to Restaurants is Back in Action
Now that COVID transmission rates are lowering due to the successful rollout of vaccinations nationwide, and restaurants can re-open again, there is an increase in perishable food orders still being demanded from grocery stores while restaurant and foodservice orders continue to climb in tandem. Grocery store orders are expected to soon taper as people start to enjoy in-restaurant dining more, which should lessen the strain on the food transportation chain in time. But for now, many logistics companies are unfortunately having to turn down delivery requests due to the shortage in availability of truckers to deliver the goods.
The Rising Cost of Food Transportation
The overwhelming demand in the trucking industry has resulted in not only a shortage of truck drivers but an increase in costs. Many transportation and logistics companies have trucks sitting idle due to a lack of truckers, and the truckers that are available are demanding higher pay and increased benefits (in cases where those truckers are employees and not independent owner-operators). It’s become more difficult for companies to retain steady drivers during this time of increased demand for deliveries. In turn, many LTL/trucking companies are having to limit the loads they deliver and raise rates in order to accommodate higher pay for the limited (independent) truckers available. This is resulting in longer shipping times for full deliveries and higher strain on the supply chain. Eventually the market will adjust, but as of now, the surge in demand for goods has impacted the supply chain industry significantly.
Less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping has been found to be highly efficient in dealing with this increase in demand, as it is capable of transporting multiple orders from different manufacturers in a single truckload. However, even with efficient trucking methods, the industry still needs more truckers to help carry the load.
Growing Delivery Demands and Rates a Global Issue
This increase in demand has affected the entire global supply chain, with container ships overcrowding ports, containers themselves being up to 6.5 times more expensive, and air cargo having limited capacity due to fewer passenger planes being used. Consumers are expecting delivery in progressively shorter timeframes, although this is often impossible due to the bottlenecking of the supply chain, sometimes a result of environments being shut down as a result of COVID spread.
Transportation companies are having to pay rising costs in order to fulfill deliveries. While the trucking industry is being hit hard, they are not alone in this struggle to adapt to consumer demand.
H&M Bay is Weathering the Unprecedented Roads of Demand
Family businesses like ours at H&M Bay are weathering these unprecedented roads of high demand, and are doing our best to keep deliveries flowing with great efficiency, due to our solid technology, operational excellence, and superior customer service. H&M Bay is appreciative of our strong, lasting relationships with both our customers and owner-operator truckers committed to get through these times for the long-haul. The shortage of truckers won’t last forever. We’re grateful to those taking on an influx of demand with such professionalism and grit.
H&M Bay is proud to be a supportive, dependable brokerage and load referral source for owner-operator independent truckers. We’re proud to offer year-round loads, hi-tech dispatcher support, excellent earning potential, and fast payments to all who help carry our loads across the nation. Truckers play a vital role in our operation. To learn more about how, visit https://hmbayinc.com/truckers/.