4 key factors that influence the cost of transporting your goods

Whenever we make use of a certain service or company for the first time, we aren’t always aware of the cost factors that influence the amount we are quoted for. This could cause us to make decisions for our business that we otherwise wouldn’t have made if we were more informed on the matter.

Here are a few factors to keep in mind when looking at the cost of transporting your goods:

1 – Fuel costs

Maritime and land transport costs are naturally related to the fuel price. As fuel prices decrease, container ships and trucks become cheaper to operate and transport prices fall – and vice versa.

Fuel prices are mainly influenced by the price of oil, and the value of the Rand next to the U.S. Dollar. With these two factors fluctuating, the price of fuel is unstable and is therefore easily changed.

2 – Insurance

Insurance is one of the biggest necessities when it comes to transportation and the handling of goods. If a company doesn’t have insurance on the goods they are transporting, their quote might be cheaper than their competitors. However, the loss you may experience if something had to happen to your products could be devastating.

Be sure to look at the insurance that is provided along with your quotation. Making use of a company that has the insurance you find necessary for your product would be the best solution for your business.

3 – The labour market for commercial drivers

Increasing wages and competition among carriers can have an upward impact on the cost of transport. With older drivers retiring, carriers can struggle to find new operators for their vehicles.

Recruiting new drivers is difficult. Finding people who are capable and willing to drive for hours at a time is one thing. The other is whether these people have the required driver licence for the position. Courses to certify new commercial drivers can take weeks or even months to complete, adding strain to logistics companies and their customers.

Furthermore, many logistics companies are struggling to compete with ‘in-house’ truck driving positions which tend to pay more and are less stressful.

4 – Demand for freight

Pricing depends on the volume of product being shipped by operators just as much as it depends on the actual, underlying costs.

If capacity is limited, businesses may be inclined to sell limited space at a higher cost. On the other hand, if business is slow, a carrier may offer a lower rate than usual, even if it’s short-term.

The above factors are definitely not the only influences on transport costs, but keeping these in mind when enquiring transport costs will ensure that you make the most informed decision for your business.

Trucker safety: A benefit to all

Even though the number of accidents caused by trucks and their drivers is less than that caused by light motor vehicles, the amount of fatalities and damage that result from truck accidents far exceed those caused by other vehicles. This is why trucker safety should be a priority for all transport and logistics companies.

The large number of heavy duty vehicles on our roads makes it imperative that measures are put in place to reduce the number of accidents involving trucks. Keeping truckers safe, not only benefits the truck drivers and their companies, but everyone else on the road as well.

Here are a few tips for businesses to implement to keep their drivers – and everyone else – safe on the road:

Identify risky drivers

It’s important to ensure that the drivers you employ don’t have a history of reckless driving.

Research into the history of the potential new hire is a must to ensure that drivers act responsibly behind the wheel. Obtain information about expired licenses, moving violations, and other traffic infringements.

Ensuring that the person you employ is fit to travel cautiously on the roads is the first step to ensuring everyone’s safety.

Ad hoc training sessions

Even though you find someone fit to travel upon employment, a lot of things can change over time, including their eligibility.

Regular training sessions on the latest traffic laws, as well as basic rules-of-the-road would ensure that drivers remain up-to-date on all vital information, and will give you as a business peace of mind knowing your drivers are fit to be on the roads.

Another factor that could affect the driving of an individual – put simply – is laziness. Let’s face it, after years of driving, we all get a bit lazy. We don’t fully stop at stop-signs anymore, and we quickly pass through that orange light even though we know we’re supposed to slow down. These all seem harmless – until it’s not. Regular driving tests could ensure drivers still abide to these simple traffic rules and could prevent future mishaps or accidents.

Regular health tests

The health of the driver must be one of the company’s first priorities before sending the driver out with an order/ delivery. If the driver is ill, it increases the possibility of an accident happening, potentially causing damage to the truck, the goods in the truck, the driver, the road, other road users and any pedestrians and structures close to the accident at that time.

Regular health checks need to be done to ensure that your driver stays as fit as a fiddle. If a driver is ill, it’s essential that he or she is able to take a sick day to get healthy. Otherwise, orders could be delayed due to the employee not fully recovering, or damage could potentially be done to more than just the company’s property. Is sending a sick driver out on the road worth risking that much? No, it’s definitely not under any circumstance.

As mentioned before, keeping the drivers of your heavy vehicles (or any vehicles, for that matter) safe, not only benefits the driver, but so much more. There are many other factors that need to be taken into consideration when it comes to the safety of your drivers, but these three tips should at least be your starting point.