Prepare Your Freight for Winter Shipping

The holiday season is near, and if you’re anything like us, you’ve started pulling out jackets, mittens, and hats. But are you geared up for winter freight?

Shipping freight during winter months presents many unique challenges. Most stem from the severe weather outlook that affects many regions of the country. And on top of that, holiday shopping is on everyone’s to-do list. To make sure you have a strong end to the year, it’s important to account for potential delays and properly pack your freight for cold weather.

How to Beat Winter Weather Challenges

You want more time for snowball fights and eggnog, not for frantically following weather alerts and waiting for intermittent tracking updates. To help your business prepare for rain, snow, and ice, let’s answer some frequently-asked questions about winter shipping.

How do weather changes during this time of year affect transit?

Winter weather across the U.S. creates difficult road conditions, long waits at overwhelmed terminals, and many circumstances that lead to delays. Rain, snow, ice, and winter storms can shut down roads, close docks and terminals, cause power outages, and generally make for some pretty slow-moving conditions.

Winter storms are notorious for rapid changes in conditions as well. Storms can gain or lose intensity and shift direction. Temperatures can fluctuate below and above freezing. Because of this, carriers will often wait for roads to be cleared by snow plows and salted before continuing with deliveries. So when those services also get delayed because of weather, it can have a domino effect and impact all businesses in cold weather regions.

How should I prepare for weather before I even start packing my freight?

The best thing you can do is know your supply chain and what regions your shipment travels through. Hurricane season in the Gulf, Atlantic, and Southeast markets has been extending beyond the regular season for five consecutive years now, with warnings into December. Winter storms can quickly drop enough snow to block all passes through the Rocky Mountains. And snow, hail, sleet, and ice can completely shut down the Northeast and Midwest for entire days.

Knowing your shipment needs to travel through any of these regions indicates you’ll want to prepare in specific ways. Allow for extra days in your timeline as snow and ice can delay carriers until the roads are made safe for driving. Most importantly, partner with a trusted freight provider with a network of knowledgeable carriers to match you with the best services for your needs.

Mothership gives you the ability to quote online instantly, book on-demand, and get same-day service in local zones. We give partner carriers suggested routes based on real-time traffic and weather data, helping drivers choose the safest route to complete deliveries on time. And with our 24/7 customer support, you get reliable help at the touch of a button.

What types of freight are most susceptible to issues of freezing?

Freezing temperatures are a concern for certain goods than others. Types of freight more susceptible to damage include:

  • Food and Beverage
  • Cosmetics
  • Plastics
  • Wine and Spirits

As an example, the molecules in water and air expand as their environment gets colder. This creates pressure inside sealed bottles. When temperatures dip well-below freezing, most packaging cannot withstand that level of expansion. Glass, aluminum, and plastic containers are notorious for bursting in these conditions. Also, certain foods and chemicals can become ruined if they freeze or stay below certain temperatures for too long. The good news is, preventing weather-related freight damages is easier than most businesses realize!

How should I pack my freight for cold winter weather?

To protect your freight from the adverse effects of winter weather conditions, you need to first understand the foundations of proper freight packing. After your freight is palletized and labeled, adding insulating pallet covers or cargo blankets is recommended if your freight is traveling in cold regions. These extra layers should completely cover your freight to lock out extreme cold and maintain temperature consistency. When making your online booking with Mothership, you can also add notes related to freeze protection which will be automatically uploaded onto the bill of lading (BOL).

Winter weather is unpredictable, Mothership is here to keep your supply chain moving. We wish you a happy and profitable holiday season!




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