While some in the transportation industry may have assumed the government sequester would not have much of an impact on their operations, they may soon see problems related to the reduction in government spending. The sequester, a series of massive budget cuts that took effect March 1, came after lawmakers failed to make an agreement regarding the national debt and government spending. The cuts will impact agencies and government programs across the board.
Though most private and commercial fleets likely haven't noticed any differences yet, they could in the coming weeks and months, unless the government comes up with a plan to stop the sequester. Firms that have drivers crossing the U.S.-Canada border could see the largest impact, and many fear limited spending could lead to fewer border agents, resulting in hold-ups for trucks crossing into the U.S. or Canada to make deliveries.
Delays could impact shipping
In February, Janet Napolitano, secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, told the Senate Committee on Appropriations the cuts "would make four- to five-hour wait times (at the border) commonplace and cause the busiest ports to face gridlock situations at peak periods." She went on to claim staffers who typically process trucks would be furloughed, contributing to holdups for truckers crossing the border.
According to the Canadian Trucking Alliance, Canadian fleets could be particularly impacted by the sequester, as 80 percent of the country's manufacturing output is intended to go to the U.S. Its drivers are expecting longer delays when crossing into the U.S., which could result in shipping hold-ups and force transportation companies to take this into account when giving clients delivery estimates. However, this could also similarly impact truckers crossing the border to enter Canada.
In order to make up for any excess wait times at the border and ensure deliveries are still made on schedule, transportation companies could find it beneficial to use routing software to help their drivers find the most direct paths to their destinations. With the use of route optimization software, businesses will be better able to ensure their drivers are making it to their intended stopping points on time and using as little fuel as necessary to get there. This can help transportation companies cope with new delays, continue to provide ideal service and conserve business finances.