16 Surprising Facts About Shipping You Should Know

The idea of shipping dates back thousands of years – and today, container shipping is one of the leading means of transporting goods. In fact, it’s responsible for moving an estimated 95% of all manufactured goods around the world.

How did shipping become such an expansive industry?

In 1956, American truck driver Malcom McLean decided to stack 58 metal containers onto a ship going from New Jersey to Texas. The efficiency of transporting goods this way “completely revolutionized the industry,” according to a video from The Wall Street Journal. These containers both protected the cargo and made it drastically easier to unload the shipments. Standard containers allowed the cargo to move from ships onto trucks or trains without being repackaged — a system called “intermodalism,” which saves both time and money.

With the use of intermodalism and other advances such as industry globalization, container shipping continues to dominate the industry. Today, there are billions of tons of cargo being shipped around the world by container ships every year.

Without shipping, we would have far less food and produce in our grocery stores, cars to get us where we need to go, and access to the latest iPhone accessories. For such an wide-ranging industry, it’s surprising how little most people know about it. For example, did you know that over 10,000 shipping containers are lost at sea every year? Or that only 2% of seafarers are women?

Shipping is an expansive industry – and evolving every day – so we understand it might be difficult to always keep up with the latest news. That’s why we decided to share some of the most fascinating shipping facts and statistics we could find. Check out our collection in the infographic below. And if you’ve heard of other surprising facts, be sure to share them in the comments!



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What You Need to Know About the Capacity Crisis of 2017

Between 2003 and 2005, the United States was emerging from a recession — causing constant flux in the trucking industry quarter to quarter. Recently, many fear that 2017 and 2018 are in as much of a crisis (or worse) as we were back then.

So, what exactly is the capacity crisis?

A capacity crisis is when the industry has an abundance of loads, but there isn’t extra capacity (or trucks) available to ship the loads. For example, in 2003, the ratio was seven trucks to every one load. Today, it’s seven loads to every one truck. Essentially, there are too many loads with not enough trucks available to transport them.

This is considered a “crisis” because with no extra capacity available, prices will be extremely competitive — and logistics providers are under intense scrutiny to manage it all.

JUMP TO THIS: What You Need to Know About the Capacity Crisis of 2017 [INFOGRAPHIC]

What’s causing this crisis?

The high demand for trucks is not the only reason we’re facing a capacity crisis. In our opinion, there are four leading causes: fleet deterioration, loss of truckers with commercial drivers licenses (CDLs), poor economic conditions, and an increase of government regulations. Let’s break these points down further.

As the economy fluctuates, not all fleets come through unscathed. Many businesses cut costs by scaling down their equipment. Some trucks and trailers are repurposed, but many remain neglected. According to Inbound Logistics, there are 190,000 U.S. trucking companies with less than twenty trucks. That, on top of the loss of drivers, may lead to an increase in rates for 2018.

Over the last few years, the driver shortage has steadily worsened, and 2018 won’t be any different unless some changes are made. Drivers with CDLs are either retiring or non-existent. The median age of a driver is 55, and continues to climb. Michelle Rafter wrote in an article for that “the lack of higher pay…is leading drivers to quit, particularly long-haul drivers…[and] age restrictions are prompting millennials to bypass the industry in favor of jobs that are better paid and not as heavily regulated…” This combination of aging drivers and lack of interested millennials to take their place is fueling the driver shortage.

We also have to take into consideration the unpredictable setback that the 2017 hurricanes and fires caused the market. Any way you look at it, the economic conditions aren’t faring well for 2017 and the upcoming year. Jeff Tucker, CEO of Tucker Company Worldwide, said “today’s massive hurricanes in the Caribbean, in Texas and Florida have had a more adverse effect on the market than the Bush 2003 tax credit…and to make matters worse — the ELD mandate is upon us.”

With increased regulations like the ELD (Electronic Logging Device) mandate, many trucking companies can’t meet the requirements in order to stay in business. Currently there are about twenty laws impacting transport costs, and the ELD mandate going into effect this December is only adding to the crisis. Inbound Logistics reported that those who have adopted ELDs have had a 10% reduction in logged miles.

How can you prepare your business?

In past years, we’ve seen truck shortages after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 clear up within months, but have also encountered capacity problems in the winter that take until the summer to right themselves. This year, we not only have endured Hurricane Harvey, but Irma and forest fires throughout the U.S. as well. It’s nearly impossible to predict the exact outcome these natural disasters — along with the increased government regulations and driver shortages — will have on the industry.

The best anyone can do is prepare as much in advance for the capacity crunch as possible. If you can remain as flexible as possible in the coming year, and build (and maintain) a strong network of committed carriers, you should be able to handle whatever this capacity crisis throws at you.

To help, we’ve collected facts and statistics about the capacity crisis that you’ll want to keep top of mind as we end 2017. If there’s any other crucial facts or information we’ve left out, please let us know in the comments!





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13 Essential Sales Call Questions for Freight Brokers [Infographic]

Sales prospecting often means cold calling as many people as you can, and hoping they all end in a hot lead or new client for your freight agency. Getting a prospect on the phone long enough to ask your essential sales call questions is crucial. However, people don’t take to cold calling quite as well as they used to. In fact, 200 million Americans have registered their phone numbers on a “Do Not Call” list.

So, what can you do to ensure you’re carrying out effective sales calls? Ask the right questions. A first call with a potential client will set the tone for the remainder of your relationship together. If you have the time and resources, it’s highly recommended that you carry out some research about your prospect and their company and industry before calling. And when you’re on the call, sincerely listen and ask about their specific problems and concerns, and — most importantly — offer help. Help them envision their business running a little smoother doing business with you.

If you’re not sure if you’re asking the right questions to set your relationship up for success, don’t fret! We’ve compiled 13 essential questions that freight brokers like you should ask on a sales call to help not only make effective sales, but build sustainable client relationships, as well.


freight agent program - logistic dynamics

Step-by-Step Vehicle Safety Tips for Truck Drivers [Infographic]

From May 22 to May 29, the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles is promoting their first annual “Vehicle Safety Week,” and we want to help!

According to the DMV, the goal for Vehicle Safety Week is to draw attention to the need to make sure your vehicles are safe for the summer driving season. Simple ways to ensure your vehicle is safe is to check your fluids, tire pressure, battery life, windshield wipers, lights, etc. You can also check for information on the latest recalls that could affect your vehicle.

While the aforementioned list is important for all vehicles, there are specific safety regulations and precautions each class of vehicle can take as well. For example, there are more boxes to check off on the safety checklist for tractor trailers than there are on the average family car.

Driving tractor trailers involves both great skill and immense responsibility — for not only yourself and your truck, but for the safety of all others on the road as well.

Unfortunately, accidents involving trucks occur around 500,000 times per year in the U.S. Whether it’s poor weather conditions, a vehicle malfunction, or an animal crossing, accidents can happen spontaneously anywhere, anytime. To lower your chances of running into dangerous situations on the road, it’s imperative to do your best to stay alert and keep your vehicle in good working order.

To help, we’ve gathered these safe driving tips for truck drivers like you to keep in mind while on the road throughout the summer season (and all year).

Want to keep this safety checklist in your glove compartment? Click here for a printable version!