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Navigating the Summer Impact: How the Summer Months Can Affect Intermodal Trucking

Updated: Aug 21, 2023

Red truck driving on the road.

As the summer months continue, various industries experience unique challenges and opportunities. Intermodal trucking, a vital component of the transportation and logistics sector, is no exception. The summer season brings its own set of factors that can significantly impact intermodal operations and supply chains. At Northstar Transport Services, we aim to keep close contact with our clients as goods are shipped from point A to point B, maintaining our core values of trust and integrity throughout this process amid these outstanding seasonal circumstances. In this blog post, we will explore how the summer months can affect intermodal trucking and discuss strategies to navigate these effects efficiently.

Increased Demand and Capacity Challenges

Summer often ushers in an upswing in demand for certain goods and services. Tourism, construction, and agriculture industries experience heightened activity during this season. Consequently, intermodal trucking faces increased demand for transporting goods related to these sectors. This surge in demand can result in capacity challenges, as truck availability may be limited, leading to potential shipment delays. To address this, it is crucial for businesses to plan and secure capacity well in advance, maintain close communication with their intermodal providers and consider alternative transportation modes such as rail to alleviate capacity constraints.

Weather-related Disruptions

Summer can bring unpredictable weather patterns, including severe storms, hurricanes, and heat waves. These weather events can have a significant impact on intermodal trucking operations. Storms and hurricanes can disrupt transportation networks, cause road closures, and delay shipments. Heatwaves, conversely, can lead to road restrictions or limitations on certain cargo types, particularly perishable goods. Companies should closely monitor weather forecasts and maintain contingency plans to mitigate these disruptions.

Cargo shipment containers on a loading dock.

Establishing clear communication channels with intermodal providers and customers is essential to promptly address potential delays or diversions.

Road Congestion and Construction

Summer is a peak travel season, with families embarking on vacations and road trips. Increased personal vehicle traffic can result in road congestion, especially in popular tourist destinations. Intermodal trucking may encounter delays and longer transit times due to congested highways and major routes. Furthermore, road construction projects are often scheduled during summer, further exacerbating congestion and potential detours. To minimize the impact of road congestion and construction, businesses should collaborate closely with their intermodal providers to plan routes strategically, leverage real-time traffic updates, and explore alternative routes whenever possible.

Seasonal Variations in Freight

Specific industries experience seasonal fluctuations in freight volumes during the summer months. For example, the agricultural sector may have increased shipments of fresh produce. At the same time, the retail industry might witness higher demand for seasonal goods such as outdoor recreational equipment or air conditioning units. Companies should align their supply chain strategies to manage these seasonal variations effectively. Proactive communication with intermodal providers and timely coordination with suppliers and customers can ensure the necessary resources, equipment, and transportation capacity are available to meet the demand.

Driver Availability and Vacations

The summer season is when many people, including truck drivers, take vacations. The demand for intermodal trucking services coinciding with driver vacations can strain capacity and lead to potential driver shortages. Businesses relying on intermodal trucking should plan, secure capacity in advance, and maintain strong relationships with their intermodal providers to minimize disruptions caused by driver availability issues. Implementing driver incentive programs or flexible scheduling options can also attract and retain drivers during summer.

While the summer brings unique challenges to intermodal trucking operations, proactive planning, effective communication, and strategic collaboration can help companies navigate these effects efficiently. By anticipating increased demand, weather-related disruptions, road congestion, seasonal variations in freight, and driver availability challenges, businesses can ensure smoother operations and maintain high customer satisfaction. Adapting supply chain strategies, exploring alternative transportation modes, and closely monitoring industry trends will enable organizations to stay agile and successfully overcome the seasonal impacts on intermodal trucking.

At Northstar Transport Services, we aim to provide our customers with the highest quality transportation services. We have powered through the summer months since 1985 and are happy to help guide you. We are proud to consistently offer new, economical, and innovative solutions to our customer’s logistical needs and requirements throughout all seasons. For questions about our services, please contact us here and visit our website! The summer season’s impact should not be a cause for concern, and we will make sure that your transportation needs are met in their entirety with ease.

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