The storm of the century is coming to the northeast in the next few days (that’s not hyperbole!), and while we will be sitting fine and pretty down here in Texas (what’s up mid-70s highs?) that doesn’t mean that we’re going to make it out of the blizzard unharmed.
Like all these airlines canceling flights early, LTL shipping is a web of connected actions and reactions. Your flight is not delayed because Southwest has it out for you. It’s delayed because the same plane that’s taking you to Hawaii is currently getting de-iced outside LaGuardia. Don’t take it personally. Mother Nature waits for no man (or truck).
As this inclement weather rolls into the New Yorks and Bostons of the world, it’s important to correctly set your shipping expectations during this snow blitz. First off, if you’re in the northeast, forget about it. You’re more than likely not going outside, so don’t think you’re going to get an LTL carrier to brave black ice and blizzard winds to pick up your engine.
Concentrate instead on canned foods and making your “the apocalypse is coming” Whole Foods trip before all the bottled water is gone. Most if not all of the terminals will be closed, and the shipping industry in the northeast (along with everything else) is going to come to a standstill until this thing blows over.
Second, just because you are not buried in snow, don’t think you’re freight transit times are not affected. As terminals go dark in the northeast, everything slows down. Everything. Less terminals mean less trucks and less drivers, putting strain on the rest of the industry.
If you’re using smaller, regional carriers that are operating outside of the affected regions, then you should be okay. An intra-California shipment shouldn’t be that affected by the blizzard in Philly. But any of the larger, national carriers are going to be affected, so expect delays.
Lastly, be patient. LTL shipping is not an exact science, and weather is the number one culprit when it comes to shipping delays, especially given the time of year. Be patient with your brokers. Be patient with your carriers. And be happy that you’re not stuck in a blizzard.
And if you ARE stuck in a blizzard? I have one word for you…