Freight on the Fourth

Happy Independence Day!

When July 4th falls on a Wednesday, what happens in trucking?

We all know that when the 4th of July falls on a Monday, a Friday, or on a weekend, the work week is shortened to four days. If the holiday falls on a Tuesday or Thursday, many people take an additional day off, to create a four-day weekend, and the work week is shortened to only three active days.

When the 4th of July falls on a Wednesday, however, curious things can happen.

My former employer, a short haul overnight carrier, used to take mostly long haul freight during the holiday week. We’d dispatch a driver on the Tuesday, with freight to deliver on Thursday morning. Lanes might include Chicago to Atlanta, which is too long for an overnight but easy enough for second-morning delivery. That way, drivers who wanted to work got their miles in, if they didn’t mind being away from home on the holiday. Our trucks were more productive than they would be in a four-day week. With the help of overnight freight, we maintained 90% of normal productivity, rather than only 80% t– the usual result of a four-day work week. (When holidays fall on a Monday, one of the five weekkdays is unavailable for business, so you’re left with four-fifths or 80% of the week.)

Some trucking companies could have their trucks on the road until late tonight, while others might get a jump on the remainder of the week by dispatching drivers before sunrise on Thursday morning.

This year, with tight capacity in all equipment types, it will be interesting to see what happens during the holiday week. Whether you are on the road or celebrating at home, stay safe!