A Look Back at Transportation in 2020

2020 shook up industries across the world, and transportation was not spared. Between the pandemic, natural disasters, and a Presidential election cycle, business was anything but “usual” throughout the year. Spikes in demand for PPE and perishable goods led to bullwhip effects all over the country, while some industries were forced to shut down entirely. This affected all aspects of the supply chain, including drivers, carriers, brokers, and manufacturers.

The big story of 2020 for the entire world was COVID-19. This carried into transportation, as do most international crises. With some companies shutting down entirely, many carriers were left with uncertainty about their own future. However, the need for relief meant that there was still a major need to keep trucks on the road. With the eventual release of the vaccine, there was a little bit more hope that things would normalize again sometime in 2021.

COVID wasn’t the only story of 2020, though. Throughout the US, natural disasters ravaged the landscape and led to even greater needs for emergency relief. Western wildfires, Hurricane Laura, and the midwestern Derecho, among others, left thousands without homes and power. It was essential that our trucks kept running, bringing food and supplies to these areas to help out our fellow Americans.

One silver lining to all of these situations is that it showed the true power of American resilience as well as the effectiveness of collaboration strategies. Despite the seemingly endless barrage of catastrophes, we were able to work together to bring relief and optimism for the next year. The transportation industry was at the center of that, and it shows just how important it is to take care of our supply chain.

At Zip Xpress, we understand the need for stability and the desire for predictability. We’ve helped many companies create stronger supply chains through our custom carrier solutions and our unmatched dedication to service. We’ll do everything in our power to help our customers get their shipments delivered on time and undamaged, period. We work closely with every customer to ensure their satisfaction and their customer’s satisfaction. To see how we can help create the custom carrier solutions that are right for your business, start today with Zip Xpress!

A Great Time to be a Trucker

The world will always need truck drivers, but now may be as good of a time as ever to get into the industry. With economic optimism ramping up thanks to the new vaccination, there are bound to be plenty of shipping opportunities throughout the country. However that isn’t the only reason any interested parties should jump at the chance to get their CDL today.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced on January 29th that there would be a two-year delay on a rule that is intended to make it more difficult for entry-level drivers to obtain their CDL. Known as the Entry Level Driver Training Rule, this rule was supposed to be passed on February 7th of 2020, but last minute talks between the FMCSA and USDOT ended with an agreement to delay the rule’s implementation until 2022.

This extension allows the Training Provider Registry and individual state licensing agencies to update their systems to provide for a smoother transition when the law is enacted. The extension also means that potential new drivers can take advantage of a smaller learning curve in order to obtain their CDLs. This isn’t to say that the new requirements aren’t worthwhile – they will certainly contribute to the safety and experience of drivers in the near future – but it should signal to hopeful drivers that now might be their best window to get certified.

With so many things happening in the world of trucking – and global commerce in general – the field could become saturated rather quickly. If you’ve dreamt about life on the road, there is no better time than now to start your training – especially with the recent extension from the FMCSA. With freight orders up across the nation, you are bound to have regular, consistent work, no matter where you prefer to travel.

At Zip Xpress, we understand the desire to become a truck driver. It is a noble profession, one full of opportunity and it is these professionals who are the face of a logistics company. Their expertise, attitude and interaction with customers are vitally important, and drivers need to be treated with the utmost respect. Here at Zip Xpress, we do our best to make our drivers feel appreciated for their hard work and ensure that every customer is well cared for. To see for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

How to Improve Shipping Infrastructure

The way that we ship and fulfill orders – both large and small – is constantly changing. Many advances have been made in the products and technologies the industry uses, allowing the shipping process to speed up and a reduction in damages. However, there is one area that still handcuffs the transportation industry’s ability to perform to its highest potential – infrastructure.

The American interstate system may be one of the most impressive feats in infrastructure in modern times, but that’s only one piece of the puzzle. Local roads, bridges, and tunnels all need to operate smoothly for transportation to succeed. Most of these infrastructure developments have fallen into disrepair and are in need of restoration. Without this investment, our infrastructure will continue to crumble and many areas will be unable to receive their shipments.

Investment in roads, bridges and tunnels needs to become a priority – and not just in the interstate system. Many rural roads in remote areas have become nearly unusable, and the inability for trucks to deliver to these areas contributes to the blight found there. Fixing roads and bridges across the country will not only speed up transportation, it will likely spur economic development.

Most importantly, and perhaps the most economic way to improve infrastructure is to optimize the space we already have. Optimizing shipments is one surefire way to reduce the number of “empty trucks” out on the road. By “recycling air” we’re able to reduce carbon emissions as well as reduce the number of trucks on the road, which helps prevent damage to infrastructure. It is our goal to help optimize all shipments and ensure our infrastructure can be preserved until reform comes.

At Zip Xpress, we understand your concern about infrastructure, which is why we’ve developed our headload solution to help vendors save space in the trailer. By optimizing every shipment, companies aren’t paying for “air” and reduce wasted space, which creates a reduction in emissions and empty trucks on the road. All of these efforts have a multiplier effect, and that is through just one of our custom carrier solutions. To see what other solutions we can offer your organization, start today with Zip Xpress!

State of Manufacturing for 2021

As every sector of the economy recovers from 2020, the year taught many valuable lessons as we answered the challenges we faced. This year we’re providing an overview of the state of manufacturing for 2021, some of the challenges manufacturing will face as well as trends that will make manufacturing more resilient than ever before.

Focus on Supply Chain Collaboration

Starting in Q2 of 2020, manufacturers turned to their carriers in an effort to increase their supply chain visibility. With the uncertainty of whether or not plants would be shut down, manufacturing executives brought together demand and supply planners to share updates in real time and determine what must be produced. This collaboration helped both manufacturers and carriers navigate the uncertainty, which ensured the relatively quick recovery we saw in Q3 and Q4 of 2020. As a result, manufacturers will continue working closer than ever with carriers to create specialized supply chains that fit the needs of both companies.

Sustainability Efforts Will Increase

Manufacturing has proven to be one of the sustainable sectors in the economy, with a focus on reducing material waste, emissions and energy consumption. Manufacturing recognizes they have the most to gain with sustainability efforts and those efforts will only increase. A distributed network of smaller, localized and energy-efficient factories will shorten transportation routes which reduces carbon emissions from trucks as well as wear and tear on our national infrastructure. Combined, these efforts will create a more sustainable supply chain, and we will see more investment into this model in the near future.

Increased Focus on the Customer

Manufacturing business models will evolve to focus more on customer satisfaction since 2020 had a major impact on customer expectations with the supply chain. In short, consumers (both B2B and B2C) wanted their products to arrive on time and undamaged as well as ease with transactions. While this isn’t surprising, 2020 cemented the expectations customers have and manufacturers are turning to their carriers to ensure the customer is receiving a great experience. Manufacturers will continue to work with their carriers to ensure superior service for the customer, since any break in service will only result in a breach of trust with all parties.

At Zip Xpress, we understand the challenges manufacturers will be facing in 2021. We’re also prepared to handle these challenges and will work with any company to ensure superior service as well as ensuring your shipment will arrive undamaged and on time. This is done through our custom carrier solutions which will give manufacturers the edge they need in delivering a superior experience for their collaboration, sustainability and customer satisfaction efforts. To see what we can do for you, start today with Zip Xpress!