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Effects of the Holiday Season on Intermodal Transportation

With the holiday season comes a significant increase in demand for intermodal transportation. Not only are consumers raising the e-commerce retail sales and expecting loads of items delivered this season, but they also expect them to be delivered in an affordable and timely manner. Read on to learn more about seasonal effects on shipping during the holiday season and how they can best be handled.

Trucks driving down the road on an icy highway next to a forest

Increased Rates

It’s no secret that prices go up everywhere as the holidays approach, especially with the pandemic’s effects on production and supply. Although there is no way to change the increased rates, there are ways to keep additional charges from occurring. The overall cost may be lowered if as many items as possible are grouped into a single shipment.

One solution that will save your holiday is planning. To avoid additional charges, plan ahead and avoid last-minute shipments to get a better price before the rates increase. Sometimes it can be challenging to prepare with all the chaos, but it will be worth it for you in the end. If you are unable to do either of these, then budget accordingly!


Planning doesn’t always go accordingly, so it is essential to prepare for delays. There is more work to be done with less time. This can cause late shipments in addition to inclement weather, which is likely to occur. Plan at least two or three days for any type of delay, especially if there is a blizzard on the way. Bad weather can increase transit times, cause reroutes and detours, and shut down shipping infrastructure. To decrease your chances of delays, items should be packed and shipped correctly. There may be an urgency to rush and ship off your packages, but it is important to take a few extra moments to correct how items are stacked and that pallets are in proper condition. Securing shipments will prevent delays by protecting the goods from getting damaged.

Volume and Insurance

Capacity is a premium because of the season and the many shipped items. Seasonal items such as gifts, holiday decorations, wrapping paper, and Christmas trees increase the volume immensely. Although you cannot control increased volume, getting insurance is a good idea. With such a high volume of items, a lot more can go wrong. If you are planning on using the previous tips suggesting to ship as much as possible and as fast, freight insurance will protect any damaged or lost items. Of course, every insurance provider is different, and depending on what you need to be covered, it is vital to research the right one that works best for you. Some factors vary, like freight classification, destination, or shipping record, that will affect the prices and total coverage. Regardless of what it is for, it might just save the day and save you money on those high-volume items.

Aerial view of a loading dock with shipping containers at night

Rely on Tracking and Communicating

As previously mentioned, it is crucial to plan your shipments. To help accomplish that, tracking your shipments and communicating with your team and customers will help the job be done more efficiently in case of any issues. Communicating with the carrier and ensuring the information is accurate is up to you as well. This results in a much smoother process than if anything were to happen to the shipment. Use GPS trackers or tracking numbers to see where the shipment is. Communicating this with customers and your team is relevant in case something happens and they need to be updated. Regardless, customers will want to know the status of their package and when their delivery will be made. Tracking and communicating will assist you in staying on top of shipments and up to date on deliveries.

It takes work to keep up with the flow and traffic of the holiday season. By being aware of the effects on intermodal transportation and planning for issues to occur, you can control your shipments and keep everything on track. Since 2014, Northstar Transport Services has grown and expanded our footprint to 7 locations serving the ports of New York / New Jersey, Philadelphia, Norfolk, Charleston, Jacksonville, Atlanta, and Miami. Visit our website for more information and service inquiries.

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