I’m not an adrenaline junkie but I do love an adventure! Recently, I spent one really fun afternoon ziplining through the trees of Colorado with two family members and a friend. One of the other groups had some young people from Texas. We got on the topic of their cold weather and the stocking of the grocery stores, and that in turn, led us to find out that one of the young men is a landscape contractor. He and I got to talking about the major loss of plants in the state of Texas and the plant availability shortages in their area.
We are seeing increased demand for annuals, perennials and shrubs nationwide along with lower supply. With the high demand, we are also having major product shortages or delays on plastic goods and other input supplies.
This spring has been one unlike any other when it comes to freight. 2020 began with so much uncertainty and ended on a high note with many of our members still riding the wave of the COVID impact and having one of their best years yet. From an economic standpoint, many people are scratching their heads and wondering if and when we’ll see this bubble burst. Some may say that our current speed is unsustainable. Others are making hay while the sun is shining and continue to plan for a bright future.
Whatever your approach, you are likely feeling the impact of increased pricing and the difficulty of finding transportation this year. Growers and suppliers have been struggling to find trucks like never before and freight costs are over 50% higher in some regions. One of our suppliers mentioned that finding trucks this year is almost like having another full-time job. You may have 10 loads ready to ship out with only five trucks available. Who do you prioritize? How do you get your product where it needs to go and when it needs to get there? Some suppliers have established relationships with certain carriers and may even have secured pricing and loads prior to the truck shortage/price increase. In hard times it can really be beneficial to lean on those strong relationships. Local drivers seem to be a great resource for many companies as well.
The extreme combination of these events has led many of our members to begin charging a freight surcharge or raise their pricing mid-year for their products. Some of the increases are just too great to be able to absorb all of it at their current pricing. Ultimately, each company has to decide what is best for them!
I wish you all a busy and successful spring season!