CAI Transportation Blog

Carriers: 8 best practices to navigate winter’s wrath

Carriers_winters rath blog2

Winter presents challenges for the logistics industry generally, and freight carriers with drivers spending significant time on the road face their own particular set of seasonal concerns. In the face of harsh snow, ice, and wind, it’s extremely important that drivers and their vehicles are ready to handle the worst conditions so that their journeys are safe.

Here are some of CAI Logistics’ best tips for navigating winter weather.

Preparation

One of the best things that drivers can do to mitigate the risks of slippery roads and other undesirable conditions is to prepare. Before getting behind the wheel, a driver must make sure that their vehicle is reliable and packed with winter essentials. 

1. Get your vehicle inspected: An inspection from a mechanic before the winter season ensures the vehicle is reliable and offers peace of mind before starting a long haul. Technicians can check brakes, batteries, tires, headlights, and wiper blades to identify any issues or concerns.
2. Protect your exterior: Professionals suggest waxing the vehicle prior to winter weather, and finding a dry, warm place to store it during the winter months.

3. Assemble the right materials: Snow tires, chains, washer fluid, de-icing chemicals (such as antifreeze), and sandbags are all good tools to make sure you are prepared for most road conditions and below-freezing temperatures.

4. Build an emergency kit: For worst-case scenarios, it’s a good idea to pack a bag with essentials to survive a storm. The pack should include bottled water, non-perishable food, blankets, a shovel, flashlight, and first aid kit.

While on the road

In the face of these upcoming changes, the CEO of CAI International Victor Garcia spoke with Russell Goodman, the editor-in-chief of Supply Chain Brain and shared his opinion on the two changes that need to occur.

“Complying with IMO 2020 is going to be accomplished in one of two ways. One, by putting on scrubbers to reduce the amount of sulfur that gets emitted. Or two, all ship owners need to shift to use low-sulfur fuel, which at this point comes at a substantial premium to regular fuel. So the real question is, how is that (price differential) going to be passed on into the market? Who is going to bear that cost? And that is a real issue between shippers and ship owners...Fuel is one of the major variable costs for any shipping line, so when you are talking about a 50% increase in one of your costs, someone is going to have to absorb it.”

How can CAI Logistics prepare you for IMO 2020?

Once drivers start their route, there are additional actions they can take to get to their destination safely and efficiently.  

 1. Drive safely: During winter months, professionals advise that drivers use heightened, good judgment on the road. This includes reducing the vehicle’s speed below the speed limit, keeping a safe following distance behind other cars, and avoiding pulling over on the shoulder.

2. Keep your tank at least half full: It is important to operate with enough fuel for long hauls. A full tank can add enough weight to the vehicle to cause better traction. Truckers are also advised to keep vehicles running instead of idling so as to not wreak havoc on a fleet and the emissions systems.

3. Be aware of sudden winter weather on your route: Check the local weather channels or websites to get information about total snowfall predictions, visibility reports, and the most affected areas, and then plan accordingly.

4. Stay connected: It is important that each driver stays in constant communication with dispatch in order to manage delivery deadlines and expectations. Additionally, each driver should make sure to keep their cell phone charged at all times in case of emergency.

 

Winter weather can create unexpected challenges across all modes and throw supply chain operations into turmoil. CAI Logistics’ years of experience and flexibility allow us to provide effective solutions for our customers to keep their businesses moving. If you’d like learn more about how CAI Logistics can help you navigate the challenges of winter conditions, contact us today