At FreightPros, we’ve seen both good and bad years, carrier’s markets and shipper’s markets. We’ve waded through the thick of produce season and the thin of Christmas tree season. As a transportation broker, we can easily break down the months of the year into Truckload Shipping Seasons.
Truckload Shipping Seasons
At the start of a new year, the transportation world is slow. We call this time “The Quiet Months,” AKA Season 1. By the end of March, it can get tough to find a truck and quickly turns into “Find Me A Truck Season,” or Season 2. Then comes Season 3, where load volumes increase and remain high for a few months, which we call “The Peak Season.” Once the holidays arrive and shipping volumes taper off, Season 4 is upon us - “The Holiday Season.”
Season 1 (Jan-Mar) The Quiet Months
The holiday shipping season just came to an end. It’s the start of a new year and the transportation industry is quiet. Customers are finalizing sales for the rest of the year and carriers are slowly getting back on the road looking for work. It’s like a hangover, if you will, from the last couple months of the year; being off work, family vacations, etc.
In this season, truckload rates are in favor of the customer (retailers). Shipping volumes are at a low point and truckload carriers are looking for work to get them back in the swing of things. By March, volumes begin ramping up as the spring and summer months approach.
Season 2 (Apr-July) Find Me A Truck Season
Spring is here and shipping/load volumes are increasing around the country as summer approaches. The industry is happy. Customers are moving their products and drivers are finding work easily. Slowly, customers will start feeling truck markets tighten up as carrier availability decreases.
Suddenly, produce harvest season hits around the country, generally affecting South Texas, Florida, and Southern California. Carriers just got past the slow months during Season 1, and they are looking to make up for it. They start chasing the high-paying produce loads that can put them back on track for the year. With carriers tied up hauling produce, it becomes more difficult to source a truck again.
This is when customers start reaching out to transportation brokers like us saying, “Find me a truck!”
Season 3 (Aug-Oct) The Peak Season
Now it’s the latter part of the summer and produce season is slowly coming to a close, but that doesn’t mean the fun is over - it’s just getting started! Over the next three months, customer sales explode. Orders and shipping volumes begin to increase rapidly. People are preparing for the “back to school” season, as well as getting ready for the holidays.
Customers rush to get their products to stores and the demand for trucks is high again. By now, carriers have returned back to working their normal routes, but because the shipping volumes are so high during this time, customers need more trucks than usual to fulfill the demand.
The transportation industry is busy, and that’s a good thing. Everybody is happy as the holidays arrive.
Season 4 (Nov-Dec) The Holiday Season
As we enter November, customers do their last minute push to get products on the shelves for holiday shoppers. Carriers are also looking for those final high-paying loads that make their holidays even better. The peak shipping season ends after Thanksgiving, and just like that, it’s slow again.
When the holidays arrive, kids are out of school and many carriers take the last few weeks off to be with their families, drawing the year to a close.
…And there you have it: A year in transportation, broken down into four seasons.
Have you been affected by these truckload shipping seasons? At FreightPros, we're always up-to-date with the trends and changes in truck markets. Next time you find yourself in a bind, give us a call! Put us to the test and get a freight quote. We can assist you with any truckload shipping questions or issues you have!
See you next season!