storm striking lightning

Adverse weather conditions can be neither predicted nor avoided. Snowfall, blizzards, and extreme temperatures plague the winter season and pose a danger to all modes of freight shipments. The summer season comes with its own set of weather problems with frequent heat waves, forest fires, and hurricanes. These all can drastically affect freight shipment.

There is always danger lurking in the form of tornadoes, heavy rainfall, storms, floods, and other natural disasters all-year-round in the country, affecting the shipment of your freight. In this post, we discuss how harsh weather conditions affect freight shipments.

Impact of Weather on Freight Shipments Through Roadways

moving truck through snowy mountains

Extreme snowfall can lead to the accumulation of snow on roads and make the roads slippery. Similarly, there is a high possibility of floods due to extreme rainfall, tornadoes, or storms. It is very dangerous for a truck driver to drive in such harsh conditions. Safety of the trucker and the freight he is transporting is a priority for the trucking industry.

When there are adverse weather conditions like fog, snow, storms, or rainfall, visibility decreases. This also leads to road-blocks and road-closures. The terminals are closed down or operate with limited capacity. This causes a delay in shipments and the shipper can no longer guarantee that your shipment may arrive or be delivered on the requested date and time.

When trucks are stuck in such harsh weather conditions with undelivered freight, there are fewer trucks available for making new shipments. This causes problems for businesses and organizations, as they might not be able to find trucks for making their everyday shipments. It also causes the carrier rates to rise because of the decline in the availability of trucks.

Impact of Weather on Freight Shipments Through Airways

Visibility is an issue for airline shipments too. When there is a thunderstorm or heavy rainfall, there are possible delays in airline operations. Many areas are prone to fog that further elevates the visibility issue, causing problems in landing and take-off. Strong winds are also problematic for freight shipments through airways. All of these factors lead to problems such as missed deadlines, increased transit time, and costly delays.

Impact of Weather on Freight Shipments Through Waterways

High winds, high tides and waves, storms, and rainfall are major concerns of waterways shipping. Weather conditions must also be kept in mind while shipping products through water-based transport. There is a high possibility of perishable items being spoiled without the right temperature control. If items are stored in glass containers, there is a possibility of them breaking. Severe weather conditions can cause major delays and loss of products in waterways shipping.

How to Make Your Shipments During Harsh Weather Conditions

Choosing the Appropriate Mode of Freight Shipment

Your freight shipping mode must be chosen carefully, examining all possible terminals and conditions of the route. Even though weather conditions are unpredictable and unforeseeable, you can check the meteorological reports and weather forecasts to figure out the possibility of any natural phenomenon that could affect your shipment. According to these conditions, you can alter your shipment mode so that there are no delays and losses. For example, if there is a possibility of a flood due to heavy rainfall, instead of making freight shipments through water-based transport and trucks, you might want to switch to air transport. Though it is more expensive, it will save your products from getting damaged in the flood and may help you meet your deadlines.

Even though only one region may be affected by a certain natural phenomenon, its surrounding regions may experience heavy traffic. This can cause delays and problems for truck drivers. Bad weather conditions are not just limited to one particular place, but cause a domino effect to different areas in the supply chain.

Planning the Route of the Freight Shipment

Planning the route of your shipment in advance may be a wise decision to help avoid unfavorable weather conditions. You may want to consider avoiding your customary route of making shipments when the weather conditions do not cooperate. Taking another route may cost you some time, but it will keep your shipment secure and avoid long delays that might be caused by bad weather.

Scheduling the Freight Shipment

It is better to prevent something before it happens than to suffer the consequences after it has happened. Therefore, it is better to plan and adjust your schedule accordingly, in case of adverse weather conditions. If a region where your shipment has to pass through is predicted to experience a storm after your shipment leaves the dock, you may want to adjust your schedule to avoid the bad weather. You can reschedule your shipment to a few days earlier or later to steer clear of any adverse circumstances.

Working with A Third-Party Logistics (3PL) Company

A 3PL company with its team of trained experts can help you manage critical weather conditions. With the use of their efficient systems, these companies make sure that your shipments arrive on time and avoid any unforeseen delays. Respectable third-party logistics companies have expert service representatives who closely monitor lane delays and terminal closures and immediately inform their customers about any delays. In this way, they ensure no harm reaches your supply chain due to unfavorable weather conditions.

Frequently Asked Questions 

1. What should I do in case of delayed shipments due to bad weather conditions?

Harsh weather conditions are inevitable and unpredictable, so there is nothing that you can do to avoid them if your shipment is already stuck in such a situation. Be assured that maximum effort is being made to deliver your shipments on time. But the weather is not controlled by any individual or company. Therefore, it is wise to keep in mind the expected weather conditions when planning and scheduling your shipments.

2. How will I know if my freight shipment is delayed?

You will be informed by the carrier company or 3PL company of shipment delays due to weather. You can also check the status of your shipment in the tracking system. If you are not able to receive any information from the tracking system, you can directly contact the transportation company or 3PL to get the information regarding your freight shipment.

3. My shipment is delayed due to bad weather conditions. When will I receive my shipment?

The carrier or logistics company will inform you about the revised date of your shipment. You can also call their customer service to get information about the new delivery date.

4. Even though the weather is fine where my shipment has to arrive, can it still incur a delay due to bad weather?

A freight shipment likely passes through various regions, especially in international shipments. The weather in all of these regions may or may not be the same. Therefore, even if the weather where the shipment needs to arrive is pleasant, it might be that one of the regions through where the shipment is passing may have bad weather. In that case, your shipment may experience some delays, as the shipper needs to adapt, improvise and reroute the journey of your freight shipment.


Bad weather conditions do not last forever, and through strategic planning, freight shipment in these harsh conditions can also be a smooth process. Book your shipment with a reliable and expert logistics company to ensure the safety of your shipment as well as its timely delivery. This will also make sure you receive up-to-date information about any delays and can contact them in case of any queries.

We hope you found this blog post Freight Shipment in Critical Weather Conditions useful. Be sure to check out our post 5 Easy to Follow Tips to Reduce Your Freight Costs for more great tips!


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