Very few industries will emerge from the post-COVID pandemic unscathed. Most businesses were caught off guard, and between the lockdowns and the distancing requirements new business models had to be built in order to not only maintain services but also to survive. When it comes to managing freight shipping capacity issues post-pandemic, there are going to be challenges for all companies whose business depends on freight shipping in Canada.
DEALING WITH THE CAPACITY CRUNCH
Freight shipping from Canada to the US or US to Canada has been challenging during the pandemic. Many shipping companies in Canada and the US had to adjust, whether that meant implementing cost-cutting measures, laying off staff, selling off parts of their fleet, putting a hold on expansion plans, reducing the number of drivers, or even closing the doors for good. That certainly made it challenging for 3PL providers like NATS Canada to continue to offer exemplary service through our network of carriers. Despite the pandemic, demand for freight shipping in Canada continued to rise, as pressures on maintaining supply chains kept trucking companies and 3PL providers extremely busy.
There was definitely a substantial reduction in capacity for the freight industry, given that over 3,000 trucking companies shut down in 2020. However, as is true in most cases, the strong survived and are ready to meet capacity challenges existing in 2021 and 2022. Growth in retail sales has already started, there is cautious optimism in both the US and Canadian economy, and GDP figures are suggesting slight increases. That means freight volume for shipping companies in Canada is on the rise, as eCommerce, retail, and refrigerated trucking numbers continue to climb. Higher demand means higher rates and a much more stable industry for companies looking at carriers to handle their freight shipping in Canada.
Where the issue remains in terms of capacity are in human resources and availability of new equipment. A shortage in quality drivers able to handle everything from LTL to heavy haul loads will be a serious concern for the industry. Many drivers have moved on to other careers, and finding drivers will be of paramount concern for shipping companies. Another issue is in finding the proper equipment. Many companies in a budget squeeze are not replacing old trucks and trailers that have been retired during the last two years; the uncertainty of the market has made some companies reluctant to invest in new rigs. On the other hand, new rigs are becoming hard to purchase. A global shortage of semiconductors is impacting the vehicle production industry, as a lack of proper computer chips has limited the availability of everything from compact sedans to big trucks. How that industry emerges given the state of COVID lockdown in other countries remains to be seen.
NATS CANADA HAS THE CAPACITY TO HANDLE YOUR FREIGHT SHIPPING IN CANADA
As an experienced and well-connected 3PL provider, NATS Canada remains a reliable transportation management partner for all your needs, including FTL, LTL, oversized loads, CPGs, dry van, and flatbed loads. Our team has successfully maneuvered its way through the pandemic challenges and continued to deliver on our menus of services with the help of a large network of professional carriers. Our business continues to thrive, and we are ready to help yours do the same.