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What is Peak Shipping Season and How To Be Prepared

What is the peak shipping season?

Peak shipping season occurs because of increased demand across many markets usually during August to October. It is prime time for retail season. Also, businesses start stocking up for the upcoming holiday season, there is back-to-school shopping, and general retailers try to clear their inventories from the summer season. During this peak time, freight rates are at their highest and the capacity is tight.

Why is peak season important?

Even the most efficient supply chains may struggle to find trucking capacity or see increased freight rates during the peak shipping season. During this surge, the demand grows and supply lowers, which causes tight capacity, high freight rates, and a headache for the retail and logistics industry.

But since this is an annual occurrence, carriers and companies can prepare for these conditions in advance. Every year, regardless of the trends, advanced planning and consolidation will help you navigate the tough season.

Which factors affect peak shipping season?

There is no strict date when the peak season of freight begins. Each year, it’s slightly different, and the beginning of the season depends on various factors. In recent years, there have been several trends that have reshaped the flow of the season, mostly problems that affect supply and demand.

Say for example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies saw the devastating impacts it has on

their peak season sales. Demands continue to increase even though many consumers feel safe returning to stores. Due to the increase, carriers tend to get overloaded with items. This causes significant shipping delays. Even though no one was expecting the pandemic’s impact on the supply chain, understanding the carrier process can help prepare for future market conditions.

Ways to prepare for peak shipping season

Communicate With Customers and Suppliers

Sometimes delays can’t be avoided, so it’s essential that you communicate to the customers on when they should be expecting their items. Since the peak shipping season precedes the holidays, companies have order and shipping deadlines to meet to gain and nurture existing customer loyalty. In addition, when an item is out of stock, ensure that you clearly mark that on the website to prevent backorders. You should also be in touch with your suppliers. The holiday season is busy, so it’s crucial that you share any order volume ahead of time to avoid getting behind on orders.

Ship Early

The movement of freight during the lead-up to the holiday season doesn’t stop, so you must be prepared and be on top of your game to deal with the high volume of shipments. In addition, the high volume of shipments could cause delays in docks and warehouses, leading to backup and congestion. When you ship as early as possible, you give yourself enough time for items to get delivered on time to customers.

Consider All Shipping Options

Every shipping company has its own shipping needs. Small businesses, for example, can utilize less container load (LCL) shipping for their shipments to help ensure on-time delivery while helping lower shipping costs. More prominent companies with larger shipping volumes can consider different shipping modes, like FCL and multimodal, to help handle their shipments before the holiday season. No matter your business size, it’s essential to have a plan for what shipping you’ll utilize.

Look to the Future

During the peak shipping season, it’s essential that you plan and know what you’re doing for the year. Data is your friend and will help you use different promotions and influxes in demand. Even though planning ahead is not always perfect, it’s still better than being unprepared during the busy shipping season.

Work with a 3PL

The process of deciding what 3PL to partner with is essential. You want to ensure that they have adequate experience, especially during the peak shipping season. When you partner with a company that’s not experienced in the peak season, it can cause major setbacks in the entire shipping process. To avoid this, make sure you do your research and pick what 3PL is best for you.

If you'd like to chat with our friendly Sales Team at Image International Freight about streamlining your businesses operations please feel free to call or email us today, +61 2 9773 1378 OR


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