If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that we can never fully rely on predictions to make all our decisions. The emergence of the pandemic was an invisible enemy that forced shippers and service providers to adapt and change plans without hesitation.
With vaccines being rolled out, predictions of an economic rebound – and subsequently freight levels – are top of mind for 2021. For most, domestic ground transportation may pose challenges in terms of capacity and rates in certain markets in the first half of the year. Elongated lead times for imports will also be amplified by the upcoming Chinese New Year celebrations when factories across Asia close for weeks at a time.
At the same time, the adopted practices of conducting business throughout the pandemic may become the standard going forward. Fewer in-person visits between shippers and service providers, however, does not mean relationships cannot be fortified. Video meetings and socially distanced visits outside will still be in common practice for many months to come.
When it comes to uncertainties in the months ahead, shippers and service providers will need to rely on one another more than ever. As the North American and global economies awaken from a hopeful post-pandemic environment, new challenges are certain to arise that may or may not be foreseen.
This post is the fourth and final article in a series that reviews the results from the sixth annual State of the North American Supply Chain Survey. You can download the comprehensive white paper here.