3 Summer Reefer Capacity Management Tips

The middle of summer only means one thing for many freight procurement teams: a reefer capacity crunch. And this year is particularly challenging given the extenuating circumstances surrounding the COVID pandemic, especially when rejection rates for refrigerated trucking have been hovering over 30% since May. Here are a few ways shippers can adapt to help keep goods moving while keeping shipping costs down.

Adopt flexible planning

Even in tight capacity markets, there are (brief) periods where things are a little less tight. Therefore, while shippers may be used to sticking to relatively fixed schedules, embracing a more agile and flex transportation approach during the summer months could result in significant cost savings along with less headaches. Digital tools exist which optimize freight procurement by enabling a flex approach.

Move away from brokers

Brokers are the king when it comes to hidden fees. And while this isn’t ideal in any circumstance, it is especially unpalatable when costs go up during capacity crunches. Therefore, to truly maximize budgets, shippers need to seriously rethink their relationships with brokers and cut out the middlemen whenever possible. Nextgen freight procurement software helps shippers eliminate the need for brokers by dynamically opening access to thousands of compliant, asset-based carriers (who by the way represent 96%+ of carriers on the road today) that are blocked from bidding on large shippers’ freight.

Adopt dynamic freight procurement

In addition to slapping on additional margins during this tight period, brokers also have a knack for gumming up the procurement works. Each minute a shipment sits on the loading dock imperils OTD and broader supply chain efficiency. And by the time a shipment falls to a broker, hours could have already passed making quick procurement even more important. To avoid this, shippers should look to bypass each hurdle possible and turn their static procurement processes into more dynamic ones where shippers can directly access alternate carriers themselves in minutes. Innovations in artificial intelligence allows shippers to directly access compliant, out-of-network carriers themselves, gaining capacity, truckload savings, stronger OTD and actionable rate data — so use them.

For more information on this topic, read “Shipper Pains: How to Solve the Refrigerated Trucking Capacity Crunch” published on Food Manufacturing (8/10/21)