It’s not easy executing a transportation plan in the winter months, when Mother Nature can throw severe weather into the equation at any time. That is especially true this year, as El Nino adds a layer of uncertainty to the picture for meteorologists and shippers alike.

Some of us had to break out the snow shovels. It doesn’t take a massive, nationwide winter blast for parts of the country to experience a cold snap or the slowdown of a major snow/ice storm. When severe weather hits specific locations or regions, shippers have two responsibilities: 1) keep everyone as safe as possible, and 2) take care of customers to the best of our ability.

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YRC Freight has the benefit of a robust hub and spoke network with more than 250 locations across North America, including many in the Northeast United States where winter weather can cause major delays. This helps us work around tricky situations involving road conditions and terminal closings by seamlessly rerouting when necessary.

YRC Freight Operations ultimately makes the call on terminals moving to limited operations or full closure. They update the weather status as conditions change over the course of the day. Limited Operations is called when a terminal is at 50% or less of their operational capacity. Terminals closings are done only when severe weather completely prohibits safe operations.

We also utilize the homepage to provide Weather Alerts to update customers of any terminal closings, and our award-winning customer service specialists are available 24/7 to keep shippers informed.

 Some of us have been fortunate. For large parts of the nation, the most notable thing about this winter season is how little it felt like winter. Nationwide, average temperatures have been above average for the season, and many people are predicting an early spring, including noted meteorologist/groundhog Punxsutawney Phil.

Severe winter weather has a direct impact on shipping through dangerous road conditions and the ability to temporarily shut down terminals. But surprisingly good weather can also impact shipping. An early spring can ramp up demand for seasonal items, which means carriers need to be flexible and have capacity for unexpected volume.

As we enter March, warmer temperatures and more consistent conditions are just around the corner. And that is something shipper, carriers, and at least one groundhog will welcome with open arms.