The USA trade is so good, it's bad!

The USA trade is so good, it's bad!

Trucking in USA faces severe pressure.

An Update from our USA partners on Trucking Services

Trucking services in the USA continue to be a challenging environment to navigate. Most all industry analysists agree that the challenges will only increase for the balance of 2018. 

The U.S. trucking industry is short about 50,000 drivers, estimates Bob Costello, chief economist for the American Trucking Associations. The driver shortage ranked first among industry concerns in the American Transportation Research Institute’s annual survey, released last October.

Driver shortage, Electronic Logging Devices (ELD), waiting time at DC’s, FC’s, CFS’s, etc… combined with a strong economic performance have all contributed to push forwarder & commercial service needs beyond the trucking industries capacity to service those needs. 

The trucking service challenges are US nation-wide. Some areas of the States are more difficult to navigate than others. Midwest and Southeast areas of USA are consistently the most challenging to coordinate. 


“Advanced booking is very important for smooth movement of cargo. “


This is especially critical for ocean full container movements. For export FCL booking/loading there is additional challenge of chassis and container equipment availability. While the trucking industry challenges have received most of the media’s news story attention – equipment availability has been a less covered aspect of the overall market condition. Especially in the Midwest/Southeast availability of containers and chassis has been a significant contributor to delayed export bookings. Container hauliers are requiring two to four weeks advance notice to secure a booking. 

Bookings containing hazardous material are most critical to book up well in advance. While there is a shortage of trucks/drivers overall – it is even more pronounced for speciality movements like hazardous material. Ensuring the IMO/IATA, SDS and associated documents are spot-on correct from the initial booking request is vital. 

One shipping line has even stopped pricing for pick ups, and only taking on CY business (Container Yard), so in other words “Do your own trucking”!

“Unfortunately the current US Inland Haulage situation has reached a critical point where truck availability has been adversely impacted by combination of new ELD procedure on long haul routes, chassis, weather and increased demand. The net result being a challenge to provide truck power.

Until the situation settles down we are only offering rates from CY when starting in the US, in this case it would be Montreal.”

An observed trend is that when a booking is made with a trucker it is vital important that all the details be known, communicated and understood at time of initial booking. In addition to the actual driver shortages – the trucking companies struggle to manage their activities from a customer service / administrative level. Initial bookings that are very accurate / correct tend to carry out reasonably well. When there are changes in booking the movements tend to become problem laden. The customer service and admin of trucking companies are not able to manage any changes effectively. Very important to establish and confirm costs with involved parties as well as all shipment details at initial booking stage. 

The overall trucking related challenges will escalate through this year. Westbound and our partners in the US will balance all the moving parts to deliver the most efficient service to our commercial customers.

Keys to minimise delays and additional costs remain constant: Effective forecast and initial planning combined with regular communication. Being able to plan ahead to secure equipment, chassis, pick up & delivery will minimize costs and exposure to delays and additional costs.