Empty miles are nightmare, not just for carriers but also for shippers. Even though it directly affects carriers the most, it certainly has its implications on shippers too. How? For this, if you are unfamiliar about what does empty mile imply, we need to understand it in the first place. Empty miles or deadhead miles refer to the distance covered without generating any income. Empty miles, typically exist during the trip back home that is, when a truck is driven empty on the road after delivering the shipment. Empty miles are purely waste of time, money and fuel and indeed, make a dent in carrier company’s budget, if not monitored properly. A carrier’s inefficiency to find backhaul load affects shippers too, as a great deal of empty miles takes a toll on carrier’s earnings leading to an increase in the total expenditure. In order to avoid break-even situation and to operate feasibly, carriers affected by deadhead miles would be forced to split the burden of costs on shippers as well. Hence, empty miles are not just bad for carriers, it affects both the parties involved in shipping and transportation.
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We shall look into a few more reasons why empty miles are considered bad for shipping and logistics industry as a whole.
Waste of money
When a truck drives empty, there are no loads to pick up towards the point of origin, it poses severe impact on the profits of the carrier company. It’s a double blow for carrier company when it makes payment for drivers on an hourly basis. Companies relying on pay per mile also have to pay for empty miles, but compared to hourly rates, it is not contributing much to the draining of profits because such payments only account for a percentage of the full load payments.
Invites Environmental issues
Deadhead miles also attribute for its impact on environment. Driving an empty truck consumes a lot of fuel, not to mention the carbon footprint. Studies in this field has concluded that a large amount of carbon emissions from empty trucks takes a toll on our natural environment. Unless backhaul loads are found, the figures in this aspect would steadily go up year by year.
Susceptible to road accidents
Deadheading is not just a phenomenon that impact environment or costs, but it has other dangerous implications too. Running an empty truck is an extremely difficult task as it is hard to control and chances of overturning are very high, causing damage to others as well. Besides, during heavy winds it can cause the empty trailer to swing to its sides which is another possibility for mishaps on roads.
How freight and shipping companies avoid empty miles?
Empty miles are part of the transit for every shipping company. However, it has to be avoided at any cost because it eats into the profits. To improve the bottom line and to avoid the unnecessary dents in revenue, with careful planning and organising for backhaul load, deadhead miles can be avoided. Here we have pulled together a few tips that freight companies rely on to avoid the biggest unpleasant factor in goods transportation. Let’s check it out!
Modern day shipping and carrier companies relying on sophisticated technology finds a way to fill the truck with consolidation of shipment. Freights that are travelling on the same route will be pooled and transported through shared truckload service. It is more convenient and shippers need only pay for their space only. Since it is unloaded only at the point of delivery, excessive handling gets avoided and reduces the risk of damage, further helping to save more.
Stay ahead of time
Even though freight transit is influenced by factors which can be least controlled, adhering to the schedule by all possible means help things go incessantly. For instance, if a delivery time limit cannot be met due to an unforeseen traffic delay, it would certainly affect the subsequent pick up which in turn affect the following delivery schedules that finally takes a toll on the trip towards the point of origin. The driver under such circumstances is most likely to miss the backhaul load and eventually has to drive empty leading to deadhead miles. It is better to avoid such instances by researching in prior to the journey about the routes and possible alternative routes in case of contingency.
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