A Quick Look at the Top Five Household Goods Challenges 06.28.2021 | Susan Pineau

household goods relocation

Back in May, our Household Goods experts summarized what they foresaw as the top 5 challenges for the upcoming 2021 Summer move season.

As usual, they have proven prescient, so we’re updating their information based on what they are currently experiencing in-the-moment. This information may save you some aggravation, disappointment and even a little money when planning your summer moves.

So without further ado, the top 5 challenges in household goods moves today and for the foreseeable future (in no particular order) are:

1. Labor shortage. Aside from the well documented, multi-industry driver shortage, labor shortages also extend to the crews packing and loading shipments. Part of the reason is enhanced unemployment benefits that have lots of people earning more by staying home than they would by returning to work. While initially well intentioned, this has led to high unemployment and pervasive vacancies in such jobs.

2. Capacity limitations: Pent up demand on backlogged moves that did not take place in 2020, an increase in COD customers moving, and a jump in government sector moves is stretching capacity limitations already impacted by the driver/crew shortage.

3. Container shortages and costs Internationally, moving companies are at the mercy of the steamship lines and airfreight carriers. There is less capacity available to the household goods industry given our priority ranking (basically last) and freight rates are significantly higher now than in the past due to the reduced capacity and increased demand to ship items. Many sailing routes have been cancelled or reduced in frequency, further limiting capacity.

4. Increased lead time and longer transit times: Clients should initiate transferees as quickly as possible to get them into the system and expedite the scheduling of move dates. For those individuals who do have scheduled move dates, and in particular smaller shipments, transferees can expect longer transit times to maximize capacity and stay within legally required hours of service (including how long a driver can drive). Upfront planning will be key in optimizing outcomes.

5. Migration patterns are impacting the industry: Within the United States, people are moving out of states like California, Illinois, New York, New Jersey and others at a record pace, and moving into places like Idaho, Arizona, Texas, Florida and the southeastern US. This creates further capacity challenges in those origin locations because of a lack of drivers backhauling shipments there.

Internationally, containers are being repositioned into the APAC region to service the influx of volume and likewise to capitalize on higher freight rates the steamships can charge due to demand. Port congestion is being felt throughout the world with an increase in containers shipping, and in many cases reduced port employees owing to either COVID-related restrictions or, as noted, unemployment policy-related inability to secure labor. As an example, the backlog in California ports has container ships waiting off-shore several weeks to offload their cargo.

It’s a lot to digest, but in summary, proper advance planning is the key to summer shipping. As always, our Weichert Move Network experts are available to answer any client questions.

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Written by Susan Pineau

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Susan is a Research Analyst in our Advisory Services group. She has over 25 years of experience in workforce mobility, encompassing roles in Client Services, Equity, Client Accounting, Expense Management, Implementation and Proposal Writing.

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