Every December, the Saturday before Christmas approximately 1.7 million wreaths are laid all across the country in memory of those who have served our country, in a program known as Wreaths Across America. As a widely known program run almost exclusively by volunteers, Wreaths Across America takes a lot of coordination every year.
All of the wreaths for this event come from Worcester Wreath Co. in Columbia Falls, Maine. Then trucking companies and drivers from around the country volunteer their time and services to get the wreaths to the proper cemeteries. Doesn’t matter if it’s Arlington, Virginia, or Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis, carriers are stepping up in a big way. From there volunteers and members of Wreaths Across America lay the wreaths on the gravestones of veterans.
It takes a herculean effort to get all the logistics in place. From the moment the trucks leave Columbia Falls, they are part of a police escort convoy to get them to their respective final destinations. Along the way, the convoy stops to attend a multitude of events.
This all comes about a week after one LTL carrier went out of business and an industry stepped up to help the newly unemployed find jobs. Watching the work of volunteers for wide-ranging events like Wreaths Across America, Scouting for Food and other community activities, it’s nice to know people in this industry have one another’s backs. It makes looking back on the craziness of the past year not so bad.
Transportation, as an industry, has a reputation for chewing up and spitting out its young. Say what you want about that but when things go wrong everyone steps up to help out. It may be the end of the line for Central Freight Lines, but it’s not for those who worked there. An entire industry is stepping up to try to find new opportunities for those affected by the closure.
Drivers, dispatchers, office workers and others are needed at various other transportation and logistics companies throughout the country. If you spend any amount of time on LinkedIn or the comment section of articles about the closure, you will see individuals and organizations showing what they’re offering. Everyone is a part of this community and wants to help in any way they can.
New York the fastest way to get something to the U.S. from China? I know it sounds insane but it’s actually becoming a reality. The congestion of the West Coast ports is so severe that it is now faster for vessels to travel to the East Coast and go to the ports of New York and New Jersey than to wait at the West Coast ports.
Current transit times from ports in China to the East Coast are averaging about 33 days, whereas LA and Long Beach require 45 days. The main difference in potential capacity between the two ports is that West Coast workers are overworked and running 24/7, whereas East Coast workers are clocking out every day at 4 with plenty of room for additional volume. To save almost 12 days and venture to the East Coast seems worth it.
That said, as more ships begin to divert to the East Coast you’ll need to watch the spot market and rates closely; as more ships take advantage of this time saver, volumes will tighten even more.
Winter weather, am I right? This year December has been full of tornados and unseasonably warm weather vs. the usual wintry mix. As we head into the weekend, it’s important to remember the holiday crunch time for deliveries but also that drivers across the Midwest will be heading into dangerous conditions.
I don’t see rejections increasing as a result of the inclement weather, but it will certainly delay shipment times. Start managing those expectations for shippers now; shipments might be delayed a day or so as rollover risks are high and weather will force drivers to stay off the road.