Insights & News

​The Good Times, and a Shipper’s Market, Won’t Last Forever

Posted On October 31, 2016

Remember what it was like to be 22?

You could go out on a weeknight with your friends, wake up four hours later, and be generally okay. Sure, you might not be in prime shape the next morning, but you would live.

Figuring out how you’ll afford to pay for your child’s college education?Spending your weekend changing the air filters in your house?

Getting a…minivan, of all things? All of that responsibility and all of those big decisions—the 529s, the air filters, a minivan—were all part of some future vision of yourself that seemed far, far away. In the meantime, you had all the time in the world for after-work rec league softball games, which you played like your family honor was at stake. You ran out every infield single like it was the seventh game of the World Series, and the Cubs depended on your powerful legs. (We are based in Cardinals country, but have an office in Chicago…so, as difficult as this is to say—Go Cubs!)

Try that twenty years later. Try putting your head down and blasting through an infield single, running like your life depended on it. You’re likely to end up being “that guy”—or “that girl”—the one who has to explain to all of your friends how you blew out your knee playing softball.

Cue all of the old jokes you never thought you would hear.

Cue all of the references to the Bruce Springsteen song “Glory Days” that were always funny when they were made at someone else’s expense. The point is, the good times don’t last forever.

Things change, and they’ll change whether you want them to or not.For example, right now if you’re a shipper, it’s like you’re 22 again.

And according to the 27th Annual State of Logistics Report sponsored by the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, being 22 for a shipper means excess inventories, a strong U.S. dollar, and a sudden surge in capacity in the for-hire truckload market.

These conditions all favor shippers, giving them greater leverage in a market that, for now, is not ideal for carriers.

However, the pain-free knees and ability to survive on four hours sleep that you had at 22 didn’t last forever.

And neither will a shipper’s market.

Inventories eventually decrease. The dollar fluctuates.

And the trucking industry is facing a looming long-term capacity crisis. In other words, things will change.

And because things change, the report also calls for shippers to build true operational partnerships with carriers, and that doing so proactively will help shield shippers from harsh, inevitable rate increases.

Thankfully for shippers, that’s what we do here at Flat World Holdings. Our more than 100 years of combined transportation/logistics experience—and what we’ve learned through this experience—allows us to impact your supply chain in a dramatic way. Flat World Holdings is here to help, whether you need: LTL transportation management, Truckload brokerage, Domestic or international freight forwarding, Warehouse services, Project management, Return goods management, Custom crating, Customized supply chain technology solutions that you (and we) haven’t even thought of.

We also hold your carriers accountable, but do so in a way that creates the type of true partnerships that you’ll need when things change, and aren’t so easy. Like when the dollar is a little weaker, and carriers aren’t begging for your business.