Transportation Disruptions in 2019, Freestyle Solutions

Courtesy Pixaby | geralt

If you were to ask eCommerce business executives what they consider to be potential disruptions for their business in 2019, what do you think they’d say?

You might guess the two most popular answers would be:

  • Sales Tax Nexus
  • Amazon

And you’d be correct.

    > But what if those answers were not the only looming disruptions 2019 may offer?

    > And what if Amazon could provide disruption in a way you aren’t expecting?

Enter Amazon Air and the truck driver shortage.

Amazon expands its transportation capacity:
A few weeks ago Amazon announced they leased ten more cargo planes and that their fleet, formerly called Prime Air, will soon include fifty aircraft. That news sparked immediate reaction from the stock market, with a not-unexpected dive in the share price of transportation stalwarts FedEx, UPS and others.

Amazon supplies a healthy volume of shipments for large carriers, and any switch to increased reliance on their own air service could potentially save Amazon money while hurting major shipping companies. The full effect of Amazon’s increased carriage capacity on eTailers remains to be seen, but it’s something that bears watching over the course of 2019.

The shortage of truck drivers:
While the shortage of truck drivers is well known, what we’ve found is less obvious to most eTailers, is just how this shortage might affect them. The industry has traditionally focused on customer-facing issues for transit time and rates. Somewhat neglected is the issue of availability of drivers (or lack thereof) for transport from port of entry or plant to distribution centers.

The fact is, our driver pool is aging, and that fact, coupled with the challenges of driving long haul routes (have you ever tasted truck stop coffee?), means younger drivers are simply not stepping forward to fill the gap.

You can read a pretty interesting analysis of how the shortage has affected the food industry here – even if you’re not in the food industry, the cascading effect of the declining driver pool is sure to have an impact on your food budget and your business this year.

Every eTailer should pay close attention to transportation costs on their purchase orders, or they could be in for a nasty surprise as the year progresses.

For more information on how our customers are tackling these disruptions by controlling transportation costs and more, contact us at: