Terrestrial freight seasons

 In Business, Freight, Supply chain & Logistics, Supply chain & Logistics

The transportation industry relies on supply and demand, and these factors restrain its capacity, rates, and overall market conditions. Besides, shipment volume throughout the year is not stable: maybe one time it works for dry shipments, but not on the next one. We should also consider changes related to the market and the place we want to analyze; however, there is a pattern that repeats itself every year and that is usually called: the 4 terrestrial freight seasons. 

4 terrestrial freight seasons

Logistic experts usually divide the whole year into these seasons:

January – March: quiet season

In the first months of the year, the freight transportation industry is finally out of the large shipments period that is the end of the year. It is finally time to get ready for the rest of the year.

During these months, the load volume will be small and weather will not be friendly with trucks, since the temperature is too low in some regions and winter storms will cause delays.

There can also be a temporary decrease in available capacity, which can make the carriers raise the rates while they find empty trucks. Even though weather is unpredictable, its effects can be reduced if you plan or in advance. Load volume grows while spring is just around the corner.

April – July: produce shipping season:

With spring, the produce shipping season begins. The rise in the volume that we saw in the past season is still going up and drivers have better load options to pick from, which can be translated into the fact that they can be picky. However, the market gets saturated, and finding a truck will be even harder and rates will rise again.

In some regions, capability and rates will change for shippers not related to agricultural loads, since carriers choose high-value loads. It is important that along this season we analyze the zones that are on the spot so that we know how much this can affect us. 

Tips to ship in this season

  • Choose the right packaging. It plays an important role since if you don’t have the right box or pallet, the products can be damaged with heat.
  • Think about your storage. This is the next line of defense for the products. Some fruits and vegetables are sensitive to cold, but others are even more sensitive to heat.
  • When is your delivery date? Once you have solved the packaging and storage, you can think about your delivery window. It is advisable to place it at the beginning of the week to ensure its arrival.

August – October: peak season

This is the second peak season of the year, right after the produce shipping season. It is time to get ready to go back to school and start planning the holidays.

Sales are skyrocketing now, and some businesses need to carry their products for them to be ready when holidays and for the end of the year. Rates are high, and the freight volume is at the highest rate.

Tips to ship in this season:

  • Plan in advance. Since manufacturers are required to ship along the peak season, it is better to give the shipper information to ensure its availability and shipment success.
  • Don’t forget Cyber Monday. Most of the traditional shipments are made around Black Friday, but we tend to forget Cyber Monday. Right now, more clients buy online, so businesses and logistics must give them attention in the supply chain.

November – December: the holiday season

Holidays are around the corner and shippers are in a hurry to complete the last orders and have everything ready before the close of business due to parties. We can’t leave loads on hold when the end of the year is close.

During this season, the lanes are overcrowded and shippers are trying to send everything that people need at the last minute. Everyone must pay attention to the calendar and work hours to work on time. Businesses must develop a strategy to fulfill all that must be done.

The weather is something we must be really aware of, especially if the load is northbound since the winter is not reliable and abrupt changes could imply more delivery delays.

The 4 terrestrial freight seasons repeat in this order every year. We need to be aware of this calendar and plan around it. Every freight transportation specialist must take it into consideration to get ahead, prevent and be aware of market ups and downs.



  • Time and personnel administration. When you have a logistics supplier, you can focus on other things, like sales or product development.
  • Cost reduction. This kind of supplier has better deals with suppliers, therefore, they can offer you better pricing adapted to your load’s volume and flow.
  • Adaptability. They can easily adjust to changes in flow and volume of loads.
  •  Speed and coverage. Since you are using the supplier’s carrier network, you can enjoy faster deliveries within their territory.
  • Mitigate risks. Delays can happen for several reasons. When this happens, your 3PL can adjust the route to deliver the load as soon as possible.
  • International support. If you have a business in more than one country, your 3PL can take charge of procedures and paperwork needed in each one of them.



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  • Paul Haney

    I like your article on this topic. Got some new information from this blog. Thanks for sharing such an informative stuff with us!

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