Customer Alert: How Recent Winter Storms Are Impacting Supply Chains

February 22, 2021

Last week, severe weather events disrupted supply chains across the U.S.

Shippers and carriers have already done an incredible job of keeping essential freight moving so far, but the next few days will continue to be extremely challenging. 

At Coyote, we are taking a uniform approach in navigating the impact these continuing storms will have on our customers, our carriers and our network, doing everything possible to keep your business moving during these difficult times.

If you have any questions about your freight, please do not hesitate to reach out to your Coyote rep.

 

Severely Impacted Regions

We are seeing the biggest weather-related disruptions in the following regions:

  • Northeast
  • Midwest
  • Texas

These regions experienced heavy snow, icy roads and power outages. Texas was especially impacted, and a disruption of fuel shipments to truck stops put an additional strain on capacity.

The situation is improving quickly, but multiple days of freight disruption has created a backlog of shipments.

In short, truckload capacity, especially in Texas, will be volatile over the next week.

 

LTL

LTL networks, compared to truckload markets, will take a little more time stabilize — many carriers will likely experience service challenges through the end of next week at a minimum.

This will include all facets of operation, including pickups, deliveries, linehaul, and intra-terminal work.

Backlogged and embargoed freight headed into the most impacted areas (e.g. Texas) will compound the issue as they begin to hit LTL hubs that were previously closed — each dock only has so much space, processing manpower and drivers in a given region.

That said, there is still capacity available; however, you may need to be patient in some cases.

 

Intermodal

Railroads were also impacted by the severe winter storms, especially western and southern providers (Union Pacific, BNSF and Kansas City Southern).

Due to ice and power outages, railroads temporarily shut down several terminals last week. While several terminals and lanes are opening back up, there are still restrictions in place impacting multiple markets, including Chicago, Dallas and Memphis.

Rail networks are complex and highly interconnected — compared to the truckload market, it will take rail longer to rebalance their large networks (potentially two to three weeks before the backlog is fully worked down).

 

Navigating the Next Week

As power comes back on and temperatures rise, freight markets will recover, but the next couple weeks will prove to be challenging for shippers and carriers.

  • Prioritize your freight.
    Depending on where you’re shipping, there may not be enough capacity in the market to pick up all of your loads.
  • Get as much flexibility on pickup and delivery as possible.
    The bigger windows you are able to give your transportation providers, the better chance you’ll be able to take advantage of limited capacity.
  • Communication is key.
    The more transparency you can give to your providers, the smoother the next couple of weeks will go. Make sure your providers know which shipments are most critical to your business.
  • Anticipate rate and capacity volatility in the near-term.
    Freight markets are interconnected — what happens in Texas can have a ripple effect across multiple regions. You may find plenty of capacity for some of your freight, and challenges in other parts of your network.

 

If you have any questions, or need any assistance, please reach out to your Coyote rep.

You can also gain increased visibility to your freight in our free digital freight platform, CoyoteGO®

 

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