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The transport industry is an essential part of the supply chain and since the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s been under pressure more so than ever.However, the transport industry has always had to manage the differing climates throughout the year and the winter weather is probably the most difficult of all.  It’s estimated that in the USA heavy snow fall, icy roads and blizzards impacted more than 300,000 vehicles a day in 2019. 
Many of the roads and interstates were completely blocked for 4 days before they were cleared of snow and ice.
The knock on effect of this is threefold.
  • The cost to the transport industry
It’s estimated that the harsh winter weather causes an average of 23% of all transport delays, which translates into a £2.6 billion cost throughout the industry.  It’s an enormous sum.  Air freight is often grounded due to high winds, shipping is severely affected and road haulage is impacted too.  Not to mention the cost of perishable foodstuffs that can’t make their destination in time.  
  •      Impact on delivery schedules
Of course, the knock on effect of bad weather doesn’t just close the roads due to ice and snow.  The high winds and blizzards often rip trees from the ground, which in turn, can affect overhead electricity cables.  We will all remember the recent Storm Arwen, when thousands of people in Scotland and the North West were without electricity supply for over a week.  Of course, this has an affect on delivery schedules too.  Daily shipments to restaurants and grocery stores are cancelled, possibly because the container can’t get there, or because the retailer is closed because they can’t trade.
  • The ripple effect on consumers
The effect of winter weather hazards does affect consumers.  The supply chain can be severely affected – from manufacturing, to transportation, to delivery.  This has a knock on effect to consumers.  For instance, Fedex and USPS suspended all of their services recently during the really bad weather conditions in the United States., and they deemed it far too dangerous to fly.
The effect of disruption on the supply chain can be easily seen in the supermarkets, where there are empty shelves or less choice of certain foodstuffs, particularly perishable food.It’s estimated that an average of 32.6 billion vehicle hours are lost due to weather-related incidents. 

This is an enormous amount of transport hours taken out of the supply chain – and obviously, this affects the profitability of the industry.Therefore, it stands to reason why prices have increased recently and inflation in the UK is now at its highest level since 2011. 

It’s not only the UK market that’s seen this huge increase in inflation – the United States are recording similar hikes in inflation rates from 1.4% in 2020 to 3.7% in 2021.It is forecasted that extreme weather conditions are going to become more prevalent in the years ahead, so the transportation industry are looking at ways where they can minimise the effect of bad weather on the supply chain.

We are Gloucester Freight - Your local route to a worldwide distribution network.  We work with businesses in and around Gloucester, servicing their freight forwarding around the world.  If you’d like some more information about how we can help you, be it air freight, sea freight or road haulage, take a look at our website or give us a call on 01452 729 915 – we be happy to help!

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