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Freight Forecast: Three Challenges Facing Shippers in 2024

freight forecast

NTT Data calls it a new freight market reality, one in which “volatility will never go away across our transportation networks. We’re always one strike, one bankruptcy, or one geopolitical conflict away from a massive disruption of market dynamics in a particular mode or region.

“The best we can do is continually re-evaluate and modify our transportation plans, based on the best information we have at the time, and try to create the most robust, pragmatic and implementable strategy we can.”

In this new freight market reality, shippers are weighing several hefty challenges, including capacity and rate fluctuations, increasing demand for speed and reliability, and sustainability pressures. 

Challenge 1: Capacity and Rate Fluctuations

NTT Data cautioned that “the capacity-demand balance won’t resolve itself quickly.”

“Market softness will steadily dissipate, and shippers should get ready for the market to turn, likely in the second half of the year,” it said. “We expect the rise in truckload prices to be gradual and not dramatic, barring disruptive geopolitical or weather events.” 

RJ Logistics account managers watch the market closely and stand ready to help shippers plan each load and keep freight on track at the best rates possible. 

Challenge 2: Increasing Demand for Speed and Reliability

“In the current market, where cost is less of a concern, shippers are … more likely to look for carriers with more comprehensive capabilities,” Breakthrough’s State of Transportation report said. “Most notably, shippers’ No. 1 priority when establishing carrier partnerships this year is add-on services, which suggests they are looking for carriers to do more while the market tilts in shippers’ favor. Shippers are also seeking carrier partners who can help them up-level service quality and provide energy-efficient or alternative energy vehicles.” 

DAT Freight & Analytics agreed that partnerships are important, stating in a report titled “Navigating the 2024 freight landscape” that shippers are advised to “optimize transportation portfolios, embrace dynamic pricing strategies, and deepen relationships with tier 1 carriers. Efficiency and flexibility will be crucial in navigating market fluctuations.”  

At RJ Logistics, we form deep bonds with shippers and provide them with customized solutions to meet their needs for speed and reliability. It’s our mission to deliver positive experiences for our customers, partners, and community through actions guided by our core values and principles. 

All our carriers have Macropoint and ELD tracking so we know exactly where our customers’ freight is at all times.

Challenge 3: Sustainability Pressures

Logistics Management said Breakthrough’s State of Transportation report, released in April, revealed that 50% of surveyed shippers “are focused on evaluating the potential emissions impact of alternative energies and 42% [are] planning to minimize the distance traveled and 43% [are] planning to assess the cost and availability of transitioning select lanes to alternative energy.” 

Mars Inc. is one of the major shippers that has a goal of getting to net-zero emissions by 2050. The CPG giant announced in May that as part of that goal, it will spend $47 million over the next three years to reduce emissions in its dairy supply chain. 

At RJ Logistics, we utilize advanced technology to help shippers achieve their sustainability goals. Our advanced route planning, for instance, can help carriers use less fuel – and thus reduce emissions. 

Navigating Economic and Market Trends

In today’s new reality, the transportation and logistics industry “stands at a crossroads, where strategic adoption of analytics, adaptability to market changes, and collaboration among stakeholders will be instrumental in achieving long-term success,” DAT said. “The industry’s ability to leverage technology, respond to evolving market dynamics, and embrace a more dynamic approach to procurement will define its trajectory in the coming years.” 

At RJ Logistics, we provide shippers with all the support they need. We use our technology to provide real-time visibility throughout the supply chain and our experienced account managers to deliver exceptional service.

RJ Logistics Faces Shippers’ Challenges Head-On 

Lexi Farris, a senior sales manager at Denim, said in the company’s 2024 freight forecast that shippers this year “are expected to increasingly award lanes to freight brokerages that provide customized logistics solutions and significant value-added services. This shift is driven by the need for more adaptive and strategic supply chain management. 

“Brokerages that excel in offering tailored services, such as advanced route analytics, real-time tracking, and sustainability initiatives will stand out. This trend highlights a transition from transactional relationships to collaborative partnerships, where the ability to offer personalized, data-driven solutions is key to securing and maintaining business relationships with shippers,” Farris said.

At RJ Logistics, we excel at tailoring services to meet our customers’ unique shipping needs. Through our strategic partnerships, service options include flatbed, Conestoga, cargo van, dry van, and expedited

Schedule a call with RJ Logistics today.

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