This winter has been a killer for all of us in Canada, even more so if you’re in the trucking business. As Mike McCarron (@AceMcc) eloquently tweeted: “Once again the white stuff wreaks havoc on truckers’ bottom line. Snow days make freight magically disappear like Casper the Ghost.” The problem with trucking is that you can never play catch-up when delivery times are missed due to weather – hours-of-service regulations see to that. And then there are all the other treats that come along with winter: poor fuel mileage; high idle-time; busted-up DEF tanks; busted-up trucks; did I mention missed delivery windows?
I was chatting the other day with my pal Jason Rhyno, who steered me towards this article in Maclean’s magazine, about the cost severe weather has been imposing on the economy. In the article, Jason Thistlethwaite, director of the University of Waterloo’s Climate Change Adaptation Project contends: “I’ve been reading too much of: ‘Well, the winter weather is an anomalous disruption in the recovery of the economy.’ No. This is a new normal. This is a new cost that needs to be incorporated into budget forecasts. You can’t call something an anomaly when it’s part of a larger pattern.”
Forget, for a moment, that he’s affiliated with a climate change organization, because I know to many of you, that alone destroys his credibility. Still, he has a point. Businesses should be, if they aren’t already, budgeting for productivity losses caused by extreme weather, particularly in the winter. So I’m going to throw it out there to you folks…do you budget for weather-related productivity interruptions in the wintertime? Do you charge higher rates in the winter? Would a weather surcharge ever be palatable to shippers? I’d like to know how leading carriers manage the cost of doing business in the winter. I may work it into a future article. Please drop me a line to discuss.
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