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Importers Guide to Prep for Peak Season

Peak shipping season for Canada and the U.S. starts in August and typically lasts through the end of December. This is driven by factors such as “back to school” buying and the holiday season. During peak season, demand increases drastically making carrier space harder to secure leading to higher rates, longer transit times, and unexpected delays. 

If you are an importer NOW is the time to prep for the chaotic time ahead. With proper planning as an importer (and a GREAT freight forwarder 😉) the peak season can be a breeze – Let’s get into the planning!

Peak Season Obstacles

As an importer, the best way you can prepare for any chaotic season is to face the reality of the obstacles that can occur. Here are some factors you may face in the upcoming months: 

  • Tighter capacity
  • Higher freight rates
  • Longer transit times
  • Increased Demurrage fees
  • Limited Warehouse space
  • Decreased Trucking options

With Ramsay Customs & Logistics as your trusted freight forwarder, we can help manage, minimize, and tackle these obstacles during the peak season to allow you to have a smooth running supply chain. 

Our Top Tips For Preparing

As we enter this busy season, the demand for freight capacity outpaces the supply. At Ramsay, we guide our importers to prepare and plan by following these tips: 

  • Plan Ahead. Draw information from previous peak seasons and how you handled those challenges. A firm grasp and analysis of your trade lanes and any capacity issues or delays you experienced is a great place to start.
  • Book Early. Knowing how much advanced time you need to secure space is essential. It’s crucial to have cargo prepared and shipped early, with plenty of buffer time in anticipation of the port congestion we have seen in years past. 
  • Know Your Options. Some shipping options fit some businesses better than others. For example, LCL importers may be able to access existing consolidated containers and inland truckloads, keeping their costs down. Larger companies with higher volumes may need intermodal shipping to solve peak-season logistics problems.
  • Monitor Your Market. Market analytics can help you understand the forces that drive the current economy, and you can plan accordingly.
  • Prioritize Critical Products. What products are most essential to your reputation and bottom line? You may opt for priority freight options that cost more but reduce your time to market. Access to a variety of freight modes can help control costs. Only ship your critical shipments via more expensive services.

Trust the Experts

The best tip we can provide to importers during peak season is to trust the professionals! At Ramsay, we believe international trade should be seamless and efficient. We ensure that your documentation is consistent, duties and taxes have been managed effectively, and let you know if you have been exposed to risk. 

Let us help you through the peak shipping season, contact us today