You may have had any number of reasons to start your construction business, including the joy of creating something from nothing, or the satisfaction of building a stronger, more resilient community. If there’s one thing you didn’t sign up for, it’s the host of supply chain interruptions and logistics challenges threatening to turn your industry inside-out. Is it time to consider 3PL? For construction companies in need of freight brokers, Able Transport Solutions offers a wide range of third-party logistics services in the Lower 48 states.

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Market Forces at Work

What’s the current state of play, and how is it impacting construction businesses and shippers alike?

Global Market Disruptions

COVID-related shutdowns and slowdowns have impacted the manufacture and transportation of everything from raw materials to the finished goods for which they’re used. As businesses have reopened, surges in manufacturing and product demand have run head-on into logistics providers that were likewise hit hard by the same market forces. The result: literal traffic jams in American ports, a shortage of capacity and qualified truckers, and surviving businesses warily eyeing the market as they wonder how they’ll weather this latest challenge even as their clients clamor for their services.

Domestic Market Impact and the 3PL Outlook

The domestic shipping market is already experiencing the ripples from those global shortages, but the problem is about to get much worse. Your business could soon be feeling a squeeze from two sides. As the clogs are freed in major ports, trucking demand will skyrocket and available capacity for flatbed and heavy haul services will plummet, which in turn will raise prices. The coming infrastructure bill will also unleash a torrent of cash, putting raw materials and equipment in higher demand than we’ve seen in decades; if you’re not prepared, your company could be caught flat-footed here as well.

Why Construction Needs 3PL

If construction is your business, you probably have long-standing relationships with local contacts and carriers. However, if you’re not tapping into 3PL services, you could be missing out on time, efficiency, service, and money.

Here’s why: most local trucking companies are asset-based, which is fine for a local load or one within a short distance. But some local carriers  will over-promise and under-deliver for longer-haul, expedited shipping, and other specialized carrier services. From their point of view, it makes sense to do this; if there’s a job to do, there’s money to be made, and many local carriers  will take the job even if they’re not particularly well-equipped to do it right.  

This raises several problems for your business.

  • Specialized loads require specialized equipment that your local partner may not be able to leverage.
  • That specialization, in turn, calls for a higher level of knowledge gained through experience that may also be missing.
  • The money lost to damage, fines, improper permitting, and other issues can prove to be a significant setback to your company; you may also be losing money on round-trip fees that wouldn’t be charged by a broker arranging OTR transportation.

Dealing With Shipping and Operational Challenges Through 3PL

The disruptions we’re currently experiencing will take some time to sort out and settle down. In the meantime, their impact will be felt in all sectors of our economy, and while these could be boom times for the construction industry at large, you don’t want that boom to bust for your company in particular. 

Every business has a particular area of expertise and is better equipped to handle certain issues that arise at times like these. Some decisions, like handling market uncertainty, material costs, and labor shortages, are best made in-house. That’s enough to worry about without adding logistics challenges to the mix as well! A 3PL like Able Transport Solutions isn’t tied to a single geographic area, so we’re better-equipped than most to handle the ebb and flow of shipping demand. We assume that responsibility so your focus can stay right where it belongs. Get in touch today for a free 3PL consultation!

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