Covid-19 and Shipping

Many of our customers have been asking, "How has the current Covid-19 crisis affected shipping rates, transit times and the shipping business, in general?"  Guess what, it is not an easy answer.  Obviously many companies have closed their doors completely, but many companies have also doubled or tripled business during this lull.  Entertainment type companies have definitely stopped, but the general grocers, convenient stores and auction type retail businesses are up. Why? Because there are many people who are working digitally and or from home and piddling on the internet, buying things.  When you purchase from an auction, you still need to pickup and deliver, that is where we come in.  Whether those items are small boxes, or large freight on wheels, we take care of moving it from point A to point B. 

How has pricing & transit time been affected?

OTR - Over the Road Trucking

  • LTL carriers have not changed in pricing, they are as busy as ever and, we have only seen a slight delay in pickup times and transit times because some terminals are working with fewer employees and any non essential personnel are working digitally. 
  • Truckload carriers have been up and down.  The first 2 weeks, we definitely encountered price increases as many truck drivers decided to head home and wait for things to calm down.  This is what we call a rate spike and with less drivers, there was more demand.  After a couple of weeks of being home; with no income and a house full of children since schools sent the kids home, truckers have returned to the roads, freeing up the rate spike and introducing better pricing across the boards. Partial truckloads and Full truckloads have been booking at normal rates for the last 2 - 3 weeks, but this could change at any moment as the trucking industry is volatile. 

Intermodal - Railroad

  • Rail pricing is usually directly related to OTR pricing, if rail is high, OTR is low and when OTR is low, rail is high due to supply and demand.  Three weeks into the Covid-19 quarantine, rail prices spiked, especially out of Southern California. Why? The ports slowed down out of China and by the time Long Beach, LA & San Diego were hit with the absence, this caused a rate spike on the Western Coast.  This allowed all the CA truckdrivers the opportunity to grab any and all freight going back East because rail was no longer an option, as it is much slower than OTR at the same price, there is no benefit. 

Ocean Shipping

  • Ocean shipping pricing has not changed much and is still the most economical way to move your freight at a slower pace. Availability and strict schedules keep ocean shipping steady and slow.  Container ports are being especially careful with protocols to protect their employees since they are 


  • Air freight is at an all time high, especially out of China.  While countries all over the world search for medical equipment, air has proven to be the top commodity in the industry.  It is fast, expensive and, who cares, when lives are at stake?  Air is specifically contingent on weight and volume, so the slightest variance can change the bill by thousands of dollars.  
Be sure your shipping broker can take care of all your needs by giving you all the options up front and a realistic timeline to move your product or service!  

Niki M.
Niki M.

Niki M., an entrepreneur by blood and part-time writer has 20 years in Business Administration in the Hotel and Restaurant Industry. She is now a key agent in USA Truckloads and LTL freight - gaining knowledge and strengthening client relationships with her undeniable will to exceed expectations combined with her tenacious work ethic and integrity. She specializes in Container, Boat & LTL moves to Hawaii, Costa Rica and Mexico. Languages spoken: English, Spanish

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