This year’s weather may have a bigger impact on shipments than normal

The severe weather that most of north America has been experiencing recently has been a stark reminder that despite good planning and using reliable shipping sources, there is an element of fate that we can’t control.

Shipping and traveling has had more delays this season so far due to winter weather than any of the last 10 years. Perhaps we have been spoiled by the normally temperate winters that the Midwest and Eastern United States has experienced lately. Whatever breaks we have seen in the past, the weather this year has more than made up for past friendliness.

On January 22nd, Federal Express issued a weather alert indicating that package deliveries to the Midwest and East could be delayed.
The weather channel announced the morning of January 22nd that 1400 flights were canceled and 700 delayed. These flights caused significant issues for passengers as well as air package delivery.

Both UPS and FedEx reported significant shipping delays over the holidays resulting in many packages arriving well after Christmas. Much of the delays were weather related.

At the beginning of 2014 many of us have heard the term “polar vortex” for the first time. The polar vortex is not new and is very common, but the media has chosen 2014 as the year to hype things up. Regardless, the extreme low temperatures along with heavy snow with blowing has caused many travel and shipping disruptions this year.

The severe winter weather trend looks like it is going to continue. One can only hope that maybe the weather will suddenly turn mild, but it seems that these trends stay long enough to define the season.

What can be done about upcoming shipments? There is no fail safe way of getting around weather conditions, most of us just struggle through it and hope that packages will make it on time. But for critical shipments, it might be advisable to consider weather forecasts in your shipping plans. We don’t advise changing carriers or methods, but adding a day or two in your planning may be advisable.

As far as the extreme cold temperatures are concerned, one should review the susceptibility of your product to cold, as it is possible that packages could see far colder temperatures than normal. Using shockWatch environmental indicators or monitors is always a good idea if cold could impact the performance of your product. This year it may be more important than ever.
For more information about environmental or impact monitoring  devices contact Packnet or go to our shipping and handling indicator web page.