TMS Tips to Find Capacity in a Snowstorm

Trucks sidelined by snow in Buffalo, NY, in November 2014. (Photo credit: CNN)

The November snowstorm that brought more than five feet of snow to Buffalo and sub-freezing temperatures to other major freight markets, revived unpleasant memories among transportation and logistics professionals.

Last winter’s Polar Vortex paralyzed broad sections of the country from December through March and drove rates way up during the first quarter of the year, traditionally a slow season for freight. This year, a harsh winter could be even worse, because freight volume is higher and capacity hasn’t kept up with the increased demand.

Below are four ways to find trucks, even when extreme weather takes capacity off the road.

  1. Check your TMS – Transportation Management Software (TMS), such as DAT Keypoint®, allows you to see which carriers are currently hauling for your company. They may have a truck on its way to your current load’s point of origin. If not, a TMS can connect you to other reliable carriers that have a successful record with your company. Those carriers may have trucks available.
  2. Think local – During a major snowstorm or other unpredictable event, you may need to use a carrier you’ve never worked with before. If you need to move a load to a certain location, search for carriers that are based there. Those companies are likely to need loads that get their drivers home. Check the DAT Directory to see where a carrier is domiciled. Another option is to use the LaneMakers tool in DAT Power Load Boards to find carriers who frequent that lane.
  3. Reach drivers on the road – Truck drivers don’t sit at a desk during the day. You can reach them in the cab, waiting to be unloaded, while they check their smartphones for a return load. Post your load to the DAT Extended Network, to reach the 110,000 drivers who have downloaded DAT’s MyDAT Trucker mobile app. When company drivers see your loads, they alert their dispatchers, and then your phone will start ringing.
  4. Post a rate when you post a load – Nothing gets a carrier’s attention faster than a good rate per mile. Many brokers prefer not to include the rate when posting on a load board, but your competitive rate will attract carriers and give you an edge. Check DAT Rateview™ to see how your rates compare to the current market rate in each lane.

For more information about DAT Keypoint, a TMS designed specifically for brokers, call 1-800-728-7305 or send us an email.