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COVID-19 brought swift and unexpected challenges across the supply chain throughout 2020. It may have even changed the way transportation works entirely. It changed:

  • Freight content. Essential goods took precedence over nonessential.
  • Modes of transportation. More air freight, parcel, and intermodal rather than ocean or truckload.
  • Truck Load (TL) Capacity. With TL capacity limited due to COVID, shipping costs have increased dramatically.
  • Ecommerce and Consumer Spending. With more people staying home, digital platforms are now essential. Consumers are spending more and requiring “Buy Online Deliver From Store” options.

Shippers have had to take 2020 day-by-day with challenges that require greater planning, flexibility, and creativity in finding solutions. As 2020 has progressed, supply chain pressures and shipping costs have continued to rise, giving the industry notice that early 2021 will bring similar challenges. Here’s what to expect in 2021:

  • Increase in transportation costs. Capacity challenges we faced in 2020 will no doubt roll over into 2021. Volumes continue to rise and capacity gets tighter, making it more difficult for transportation companies to move products around.
  • Increase in freight volumes. Expect more products to flood the market as goods production recovers.
  • Ecommerce. Consumer spending should remain high and expectations for rapid delivery will continue to affect freight costs and availability.
  • Collaboration. With the truckload market expecting to remain at a peak for a while, collaboration is more and more important. The market will endure more pressure, making collaboration more and more important.

These are unprecedented times requiring greater flexibility and planning to ensure your packaging requirement is available when needed. Transportation and distribution logistics will need to be robust and resilient in order to properly handle supply chain challenges going forward.


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