What are the freight shipping seasons?
Each year in freight, shipping is different. There are many market fluctuations and external conditions that affect the supply and demand in which the freight shipping industry relies heavily on. Traditionally, the year of freight shipping is divided into different seasons. Freight brokers, shippers, and industry workers use this differentiation to know what to expect in the upcoming months and start preparing for an increase or decrease in demand. Generally, there are four symbolic freight shipping seasons.
What are the 4 freight shipping seasons?
The Quiet Shipping Season (January – March)
After the intense holiday shipping season, the start of the year is usually slow. During the quiet months, freight volumes are usually down and the demand is low. During this time, the industry is recovering from an exhausting holiday season. The quiet season is the best time for active shipping. At the end of winter, the industry slowly begins to regain its activity and get back on track. This season is a good opportunity to plan further shipments and book capacity in advance, while the competition is low.
The Produce Shipping Season (April – July)
Freight volumes start to grow once we get closer to spring. There are many factors impacting the increase in demand, but it is typically connected to the season of fresh produce. Active freight movement mainly begins in southern states where fresh produce is traditionally harvested and grown. From those areas, fruits and vegetables are distributed throughout the entire country, supplying grocery stores, supermarkets, cafes, and restaurants. During this time, the capacity rapidly shrinks and sometimes freight rates get very high for non-produce shippers because carriers are rebuilding their prices for high-volume produce loads.
The Peak Shipping Season (August – October)
This is the busiest season of the year, with a huge spike in demand and peaking freight volumes. Such a rush in demand during this time is linked to many factors like the ongoing produce season combined with back-to-school time as well as early preparations for the upcoming holiday season. While it may seem a bit too early to get ready for winter holidays, large companies and retailers get armed as early as possible. Usually, companies sell their products out to make sure they have room for new inventory for the wintertime.
The Holiday Shipping Season (November – January)
Starting with Thanksgiving, the holiday craze goes all the way until mid-winter, marking another busy freight season. Shippers rush to get all the orders sent before their last delivery dates. While people across the world are busy shopping for presents to gift to their family and friends, shippers and the freight industry make sure all these gifts get to the right place on time.
Being acquainted with the differences in shipping seasons can help retailers and shippers properly plan, prepare, and take advantage of the seasons ahead.