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September 1, 2020

September Transportation Outlook

It is expected that the transportation market during the next 30 or so days is going to be challenging, according to C.H. Robinson’s John Stenderup.

Stenderup notes that a number of factors may contribute to this environment, including the following:

  • Hurricane Laura recently made landfall along the Texas – Louisiana border. The damage from this storm will create demand for transportation services to move medical supplies, water and construction materials into the region. If past behavior is any guide, FEMA will pay whatever is necessary to secure transportation. The result may be diversion of equipment and escalating rates. Twenty percent of U.S. refining capacity is in the area impacted by the storm; if these facilities are offline for a significant period, fuel prices may increase and create additional upward pressure on rates.
  • The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) has scheduled a national safety inspection blitz for September 9th through September 11th.  The inspection emphasis will be on driver requirements, including possession of a valid Commercial Driver’s License, up to date medical certification and complete hours of service records. Rather than risk a citation, many drivers will go out of service during this period, placing further strains on equipment availability.
  • The average age of the truck driver population is 55, a group that is vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus. It is currently estimated that 17% of drivers are staying home and taking advantage of unemployment benefits and income assistance programs rather than risk the chance of becoming ill. The majority of long haul trucks are single driver, so the truck may be out of service if the driver stays home.

Last-minute orders may be particularly hard to move and very expensive during the next month, so planning ahead if possible is advised. The Western Growers/C. H. Robinson Transportation Program can be a valuable resource; CHR has over 70,000 carriers under contract and with reasonable advance notice, will be able to cover domestic shipments. 

For more information, contact the Western Growers Account Team at C. H. Robinson at [email protected] or 866-715-8029 today.