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Fluctuating supply and demand leaves capacity trends unpredictable

Trying to Predict Holiday Sales? Gauging Capacity Trends Is Even Tougher

All business owners are familiar with the rules of supply and demand. Few, however, realize how heavily trucking companies depend on supply and demand to function. We don’t blame them, either. With free two-day delivery becoming the norm, it feels like shipping just happens automatically. Most of us know that it’s more complicated than that, but just how much more complicated might surprise you. Predicting capacity trends is extremely challenging, and that’s particularly true in 2022. 

Freight Transportation Always Has Four Seasons

Market conditions have always influenced the trucking industry, from capacity to rates. Still, there’s usually some level of predictability. There are four seasons in the logistics work. You have:

  1. The Quiet Season (January – March)
  2. The Produce Shipping Season (Produce Shipping Season (April – July)
  3. The Peak Shipping Season (August – October)
  4. The Holiday Shipping Season (November – December)

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Freight fraud

Freight Fraud Is a Real Problem. Here’s How to Avoid Scams

Scams are rampant across all industries, and the logistics industry is no exception. BYX has dealt with fraud more than once, and freight fraud can be devastating for smaller organizations. Fraud is so common today that many corporations have entire departments dedicated to fraud detection. For those who lack the resources to follow suit, there are easier ways to spot a scam before you fall prey to it. 

The Most Common Freight Fraud Situations

Identity Theft
Identity theft is the oldest scam in the book. There are a few ways in which this occurs in the shipping industry. Some scammers pretend to be trucking companies and prey on shippers or brokers by picking up freight and fleeing. Others request fuel advances and vanish. 

Another common method of identity theft happens entirely online. Scammers design fake websites that look similar to legitimate shipping sites. Shippers assume its the real one, provide their payment details, and lose thousands. Always doublecheck a website’s URL. If it’s not identical to a legitimate company’s name, consider it a red flag. If the URL ends with the name of a free hosting site, like .wix or .hubspot, run. If a company is legitimate, they can afford their own domain name.  Read more

Trucker protesting AB 5 law

Big News: The Controversial AB 5 Law Now Applies to Trucking

Back in 2019, a bill was proposed called the AB 5 independent contractor law. It was intended to regulate companies that hire massive numbers of gig workers, like Uber and DoorDash, but when the law went into effect on January 1, 2020, it radically changed worker classifications.

Millions who were previously defined as independent contractors are now considered employees. While the trucking industry was previously exempt from AB 5, the Supreme Court’s recent ruling changes everything. Now, the law applies to trucking too, sparking industry-wide frustration. 

No Buts About It: The AB 5 Law Is Bad for Trucking (But not BYX)

Now that AB 5 impacts all 1099 truck drivers, the majority of trucking companies will be impacted. 

The law states that to be classified as an independent contractor, three conditions must be met: 

(a) The worker is free from control and direction in the performance of services; and

(b) The worker is performing work outside the usual course of the business of the hiring company; and

(c) The worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business. Read more

Rising insurance costs

Rising Insurance Costs and What It Means for Trucking

The past few years haven’t been easy for the trucking industry. In addition to the supply chain crisis that was made drastically worse by the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, we’ve also faced a persistent driver shortage, rising gas prices, an automation evolution and shifting client expectations. While fleet owners have been scrambling to find solutions to all of that, insurance costs have crept up in the background. Rising insurance costs has now become so substantial that ignoring it is no longer an option.

Over the past decade, insurance premiums have risen by 47%

The latest report by ATRI, the American Transportation Research Institute, found that insurance premium costs per mile increased by nearly half over the course of a decade, rising from 5.9 cents to 8.7 cents. Insurance rates also fluctuate substantially. Fleet owners hop on an unpleasant roller coaster ride when it’s time to renew coverage each year.

The last four years have been especially challenging. Between 2018 to 2020, virtually all motor carriers saw substantial rises in insurance costs. Despite efforts to improve safety and lower risk, insurance premiums continue to creep up. Read more

Pallets stacked

Freight Shipping 101: How to Pack a Pallet

When you’re shipping freight, there are so many moving pieces to worry about– Literally. Choosing a reputable logistics company like BYX is a great start, but carriers are responsible for transporting freight from point A to point B, not to prepare it for the road ahead. Carriers are in control of many factors, like properly packing the truck and not driving off the road. Nevertheless, freight can and does shift during transport. The best way to secure your freight and protect it from damage is to learn how to pack a pallet properly.

What Is a Pallet?

Pallets are nothing more than rigid platforms designed to secure and consolidate shipments. Pallets serve a few purposes, including: 

  • Keeping multi-piece shipments together
  • Making it easier to load and unload freight
  • And maximizing cargo space in the trailer

 

Most importantly, pallets help protect your cargo by minimizing movement. To help ensure your freight arrives in one piece, free from dents and dings, learning how to pack a pallet is a must. Fortunately, it’s not that hard to master. Read more

Rising gas prices visual

How Gas Prices Affect BYX and Our Customers

Gas prices fluctuate by the day. This is nothing new, but the conflict between Ukraine and Russia has caused an exceptionally painful spike. The current average price per gallon in Los Angeles County is currently $5.52, with diesel averaging $5.85, but some stations are charging over $6 per gallon. Trucking companies feel the sting of elevated fuel prices more acutely than most. To fill up a 100-gallon diesel tank costs about $585. If you’re thinking “ouch,” so are we. 

Gas prices look very different than they did in recent months. The average prices are up by 57 cents/gallon from just last month. It’s hard to believe that at this time last year, gas only cost $3.73 a gallon. Inflation is hardly a new dilemma, but now its effects are more pronounced than they have been in decades. 

Shipping companies use something called “fuel surcharge.” A fuel surcharge is a flat rate that allows the cost of fuel to be incorporated into shipping rates in a fair manner and allows shippers to have a fixed fuel cost they can count. Fuel surcharge is an important part of us continuing to operate our business and is set by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) and updated weekly. 

Rising Gas Prices May Lead to Rate Hikes Down the Line

Before you panic, BYX just updated our rates at the start of 2022, and we hope to keep them stable for some time. Still, we prefer to be transparent with our customers so they understand why price increases have to happen. It goes without saying that elevated gas prices make transporting goods more costly. The farther the pickup, the more the additional fuel expenses are felt. 

The hike isn’t just felt by trucking companies. Every rung of the transportation ladder is effected, including cargo vessels and moving freight by air. Coupled with the existing supply chain crisis and materials shortage, the cost of everything is likely to increase, not just gas prices. Maintaining our fleet, from replacing tires to changing the oil, is more expensive than it was a year ago. Read more

Shipping appointment

Fed Up With Rising Prices? Shipping Appointments Are Partly to Blame

Every business owner knows customer care is the name of the game. Unfortunately, offering the best customer care possible sometimes comes at a cost. While making shipping appointments seems simple at first glance, the logistics behind arranging a simple pickup or delivery is more complex than it appears. 

The hidden cost of appointments

Every industry has annoying, unavoidable inefficiencies. The ones shipping companies like BYX deal with, however, didn’t exist just a decade or two ago. Originally, it worked something like this: Delivery companies would make their deliveries in the morning, and spend the afternoon making pickups. The only communication required was a quick phone call to let the customer know approximately when to expect the driver.

Today, expectations are very different. The workflow of a shipping appointment clerk looks something like this:

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Amazon location

Love Prime? Here’s Why Amazon Locations Are Actually a Nightmare

Say you have a particularly busy week and realize as you’re running out the door that you’re out of both coffee and paper towels. Who wouldn’t love being able to order a refill on Amazon over their lunch break? With Amazon Prime, both items will likely arrive within two days, sometimes even sooner. It’s like magic; addictive magic that we’ve all come to expect. Behind the scenes, it’s much more complicated. In reality, Amazon locations are a pain to deliver to and pick up from, and their methods may not be sustainable.

The basics of Amazon shipping

There’s a reason that your comfy pair of winter boots or last-minute birthday gift arrived so quickly. Most Amazon sellers send their goods to large Amazon warehouses. There are more than 50 warehouses across the U.S., so there’s one relatively close to almost any residential address nationwide. That’s how Amazon can promise 2-day shipping. The goods really don’t have to travel that far. Based on product availability and distance from the nearest warehouse, same-day shipping may even be available. 

There’s a dark side to all of this, however. To start, Amazon has a sizeable history of complaints regarding employee welfare and ethics. The corporate giant supposedly installed $52 million worth of air conditioning units in their U.S. warehouses to make working conditions more comfortable, but there’s still room for improvement. For example, warehouse workers at Amazon locations are on their feet all day, and they have extremely demanding quotas to fill.  Read more

Driver shortage

TIME Claims There’s No Truck Driver Shortage. Here’s Where They’re Wrong

Time Magazine published an article in late 2021 claiming that the truck driver shortage is a fallacy. As a decades-old trucking company, we beg to differ. While their statistics are on point, Time lacks perspective. To clear things up, here’s an insider view on one of the biggest issues plaguing America’s supply chain issues today. 

The claim: The driver shortage doesn’t exist.

To start, TIME’s infamous article covered some indisputable basics: America’s supply chain is struggling, leading to frustrating delays over the holidays and ongoing product shortages. The crisis began months ago, and yet our favorite muffin at Starbucks and the new smartphone we saved up for remains stubbornly unavailable. 

Many experts have cited a truck driver shortage– the largest we’ve seen in decades, as a strong contributing factor to the recurrent delays, but TIME says it doesn’t exist. To be specific, their article stated that:

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CFL

CFL, A 96-Year-Old Freight Company, Just Went Under. The Scary Truth About the Future for Carriers.

If our headline seems melodramatic, that’s only because the news hasn’t covered this nearly enough. Central Freight Lines, also known as CFL, was founded in Waco, Texas in 1925. Nearly a century later in 2020, it won the title of Carrier of the Year from GlobalTranz. Yet, despite 96 years of excellence and expertise, just announced that they’re ceasing operation. 

CFL announcement

CFL’s announcement on their company’s homepage.

The logistics giant stopped picking up freight on December 13, and aimed to make all remaining deliveries by the 20th. While BYX is alive and well, the downfall of CFL is proof that no LTL carrier is immune to the effects of driver shortages and rapidly rising expenses. 

Where did CFL go wrong? 

Truth be told, it didn’t. The climate for logistics companies has turned increasingly volatile. The company’s announcement may come as a shock, but in reality, it came after years of struggling to remain profitable. Jerry Moyes, CFL’s owner, took up the reigns as CFL’s interim president and CEO in July, 2021 in an attempt to reduce expenses, pouring as much money into it as he could, but it simply wasn’t enough.  Read more