In general, the shipping industry is affected by weather and seasons. Without exception, the vehicle shipping business experiences seasonality. This is driven by various factors as we shall see in this article. Depending on your route, shipping your vehicle may be favorable in winter or in summer.
Once you understand how these seasons affect the business, you can plan your schedule and avoid inconveniences. However, if shipping is unavoidable in the extreme weather conditions, familiarizing yourself with the industry trends will help you accommodate the changes. For instance, you will protect your vehicle from accidents and road hazards appropriately.
Shipping in summer tends to be more expensive in major cities
Some people argue that winter months are more expensive than summer in the shipping industry. However, based on a research by Consumer Affairs, most transporting companies charge higher in summer. According to the research, shipping prices in summer can increase by $200-$300. These findings are due to a number of reasons;
- During summer, the auto transport companies experience a high demand. Most people prefer to travel during summer. The period is also perfect to travel with children. Since the demand is higher than supply, prices go up. Major routes such as New York, Los Angeles, Miami, and Chicago experience more traffic.
- To protect vehicles from winter snow, enclosed shipping is advisable. This transport system is a premium service which excludes most vehicle owners. People who cannot afford this service might prefer to wait till the weather clears up. As such, fewer people ship during winter as compared to summer. And although temperatures are high during summer, the vehicles are still able to move without disruptions.
- On the other hand, there is less movement during winter months. The low demand forces auto transport companies to reduce prices.
It is worth noting that the difference in prices in not experienced across all companies. The small and new companies tend to take this opportunity to win more customers. Therefore, they may not increase prices significantly in summer.
Winter months are expensive in southern states
Most people travel to the warmer South during winter. The auto transport demands on these routes are generally higher during this period. As a result, the transporters take advantage and increase vehicle shipping prices. Again, the price difference may not cut across the whole industry especially among the small and new companies.
Winter months are slow while summer months are fast
The slow movements during winter are caused by five factors
- During the cold months, the roads are snowy and dangerous to maneuver. Also, the road visibility is poor. These factors require trailer drivers to slow down as a safety precaution measure. This makes the transit process slow.
- Not all drivers and trailers are good to go during winter. The poor road conditions are dangerous for unstable vehicles and inexperienced drivers. This scarcity of transporters makes the industry slow.
- In some states, oversized vehicles are not allowed on the road past sunset. In winter the days are therefore shorter than in summer. This implies that for a normal day in winter, a driver will travel for fewer hours than in summer. As a result, the transit process is slower.
- Some roads are completely inaccessible during winter due to ice and snow. For instance, North Dakota is dangerous for trailers - even the seasoned ones. Most companies prefer not to move cargo during this time. Others may take a longer route to the states to avoid black ice.
- During summer months, the roads are fair to allow people and vehicles to move. Also, more trailers and drivers are available to ship vehicles. This makes vehicles move faster between locations.
Vehicle preparations during winter
As part of boat preparation process, you may be required to do winterization. This process is of course not required during summer. This preparation will add an extra cost to your shipment. For cars, the snow may not favor the open air transportation method. As such, more vehicles may opt for enclosed shipping to avoid the extreme weather.
Vehicle preparations during summer
Summer seasons in some states experience extreme temperatures. This might affect the quality of cars transported by open air method. If you are shipping your car to these areas, ensure that they are properly wrapped.
These factors may affect the rates and the delivery time of your shipment. As a rule, you should do your booking early enough to allow for eventualities. If your route is adversely affected by the weather, you can wait until the conditions are better.
Written By:Joe Webster
Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing.
After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood.
With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.