Shipping logistics seem like they’re on the verge of a revolution. Drone delivery and self-driving trucks are the wave of the future, even if it’s not always clear how the industry will get there. It takes a lot of insight, planning and good old-fashioned hard work to deploy a drone delivery system, and the world of driverless trucks is still in its infancy. What seemed like science fiction a decade ago is fast becoming the headlines of today, and it is an exciting time as many companies work to shape and predict what the future will bring.
The price of oil has dropped precipitously over the past two years. I’m sure you’ve heard. If nothing else, you’ve passed a gas station recently and probably did a double-take at those three numbers staring back at you. The reasons behind this drop are expectedly complicated (here’s a pretty good overview of what’s happening), but old fashioned supply and demand goes a long way towards explaining the situation. Increased fracking in places like Texas and Oklahoma have contributed to the drop. Most believe fracking has had some pretty earth-moving consequences in it’s own right. It’s anyone’s guess when prices will rise again, but as they currently sit, low oil prices affect the freight industry in a number of ways. We’ve talked briefly about the factors in shipping rates, so let’s break down three common types of shipments that you’ll find in the domestic freight industry, and how these oil prices affect the consumer, carrier, or broker.
TruckingLow oil prices often result in lower gas prices, and these lower gas prices can help lower your freight quotes. By spending less on gas, a carrier can offer more competitive freight rates. They can also afford to ship more volume. Added volume increases the demand for more drivers, so hopefully the driver shortage can begin to work itself out. Overall, lower oil prices are a good thing for the trucking industry – both LTL and full truckload services.
IntermodalConversely, low oil prices are not great for intermodal shipping. The main draw of intermodal shipments is that they are typically cheaper than your standard truckload freight shipment. The drawback is the delayed transit times. With low gas prices and lower freight quotes, intermodal loses its bang for its buck. Standard truck shipments can offer competitive prices with faster transit times than intermodal.
Air FreightAs a huge part of air freight is tied up in jet fuel prices, you’d think you could see tremendous savings when it comes to getting air freight quotes. Not so fast. While jet fuel prices have dropped, and that has resulted in cheaper commercial air fairs, overall air freight quotes might not move much. This is largely because good years in the air industry are few and far between. To stay afloat in an industry that teeters on insolvency, the air carriers are likely to boost their profits while they can, in an effort to plan for the inevitable hard days to come.
Are you into fast-moving freight? Expedited shipping? Do you need to move freight from New York and Los Angeles in a day? Did you just read the new Wright Brothers biography, so yeah, you’re into planes? Come on down, because we’ve got Fedex Air shipments, and if you’re paying we’re shipping! Some LTL and Truckload freight brokers steer clear of air shipments. Not FreightPros. Fedex Air offers shippers the opportunity to ship next day to all fifty states in the union. As freight brokers, we have the chance to help you use this great carrier to move your super-expedited freight. When it comes to freight air shipments, time equals money. Yes, air shipments can get LTL freight delivered faster than any other form of transportation, be it LTL or Intermodal. Yes, air freight is taking LTL shipping to another level. No, it is not a free service. Cost comparisons between air freight and standard LTL lead to moment of “wow.” As in, “Wow, it’s expensive to move freight through the air!” And yes, it is. But flying is expensive. Freight can be expensive. Freight + Flying = $$$. Peace of mind is the prize when you’re shipping freight through Fedex Air, or other air carriers. While the transit times are still estimated, air shipments have delivery success rates that are out of this world. Though it might not be financially prudent to ship EVERY LTL item you have via LTL air, the service can be worth it for special circumstances. Like any LTL freight, there are limitations to pay attention to. Some items, such as ammo and guns cannot be shipped. Others, like food or refrigerated materials, can. We can offer third party insurance or you can get insurance through the carrier. And most air carriers like Fedex Air offer a multitude of delivery options, some more expedited than others. So next time you’re thinking, “Should I ship this LTL via plane???” call us. We’ll get you quality air freight quotes, from some of the best carriers in the business. And as usual, we’ll be your full service freight broker; handling everything from pickup to delivery in an effort to make your freight air travel uneventful – but in a good way. Get a quote, don’t be like this guy. cc image courtesy Nabeel Syed via Flickr