Freight Claims Trends to Expect During Peak Season

Freight damage claims increase during for peak season deliveries.

The holiday season is the peak season for many retailers and e-commerce companies. Preparing for peak season freight claims trends ensures the supply chain and shipping process work as smoothly as possible for optimal profits.

While peak season is the prime time for selling, it also comes with serious challenges like higher returns and freight claims. The arrival of peak season is the perfect time to monitor transportation industry and freight claims trends. This way, your company can prepare for shipping management, so increased activity doesn’t send costs out of control.

Increased E-commerce Equates to Increased Problems

Freight claims protect shippers when there is a problem with a product that a carrier is responsible for shipping and delivering. For instance, a product may become damaged after it leaves your warehouse and before it reaches the customer.

Since more goods are shipped at the end of the year — not just from your company but through carriers in general — the risk increases for more claims. E-commerce went from 10% of global retail sales to 20.4% in the past five years. So a more significant number of peak season freight claims is expected.

Expect Pre-January Returns and Freight Claims

While retailers expect returns in January, it’s essential to be ready for December. Even packages that return in early January often start their journey in December.

Companies must plan their logistics strategies for these returns in December. A surge in shipping volume leads to more peak season freight claims risk. In addition, by focusing on this issue earlier, companies may have a chance to create more satisfied customers through a positive return experience.

This trend of early returns is primarily caused by early Black Friday sales and free return shipping  – even though some retailers are charging return fees.

People also make personal purchases when they see holiday deals and promotions. People return more when they buy online than through in-store shopping, so it stands to reason that increasing e-commerce activity means a higher return rate.

Different Types of Freight Claims Trends Are Likely

It’s common for shippers to experience loss claims and damage claims. Nonetheless, one of the freight claims trends to watch is that e-commerce has made other types of claims more common.

These include repairs and maintenance claims, abandoned cargo claims, demurrage claims, overcharge claims, and others. This season, you can expect to see more instances of various types of claims.

Changes in the Market Affect Claims

Recently, we have seen numerous changes in the market due to the pandemic, conflict in Ukraine, a worldwide supply chain crisis, and other factors.

These fluctuations will likely impact the peak season this year, just as claims can. In addition, freight claims and shipping delays interfere with processes for companies and carriers, further impacting the market. This is especially true of peak season freight claims, which occur when there is already extra activity affecting carriers and shippers.

Winter Weather Plays a Role

The Farmer’s Almanac Extended Winter Weather Forecast predicts:

  • Early onset of winter weather.
  • Active storm patterns in the eastern U.S.
  • Snow and heavy rain throughout large portions of the country.
  • Extra cold arctic air.

Difficult weather conditions wouldn’t be surprising based on climate trends. Of course, inclement weather affects transportation and shipping, causing delays and damage that lead to claims. This is something to expect as part of peak season freight claims.

Freight Claims Management Is Essential

Companies need to be ready to expect claims, including different types of claims and claims that may come earlier than anticipated. In addition, with high rates of e-commerce and retail orders shipped and returned, companies must be ready to carry out claims management processes efficiently, even as they handle peak season sales and deliveries.
There are ways to improve claims management with the support of technology. For example, you can streamline your system by centralizing data through integrated systems designed just for shippers and carriers. This makes it easy to respond to claims of any sort efficiently.

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Prepare for a Surge in Freight Claims with the Right System

No matter how good your business processes are, claims will still come, partly due to factors outside your control. Preparing for claims, in part by keeping up with freight claims trends and having an optimized system in place, will help your company manage them successfully.

Download our white paper to learn more about the advantages of a web-based claims management system. It highlights the benefits shippers and 3PLs can achieve when adopting this software solution into their transportation management platform.

Find out how claims management improves your peak season business performance.

Pete Celestina

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