Website Facelift & Transportation Forecasts

January 2021January 2021 (Spanish)

SmithSeed.com Gets Major Facelift

This past month, we launched a completely revised Smith Seed Website. The new site not only reflects our commitment to supporting and growing our distributor network, but also provides a plethora of additional resource for you, our customers.

As you browse through the numerous sections, you will find a continuous invitation for users to ask us where they can find a dealer. We have extended this call to action (CTA) both for inquiries about proprietary products as well as commodities.

Here’s the important part: YOU, our distributors, are who we will be directing these inquiries to. As stated on our home page, “We Help Seed Distributors Grow.”

So, please visit the new SmithSeed.com website, give us feedback on how we can make it even better, and let us know how we can help you grow your business. Finally, thanks again, for choosing us as one of your seed suppliers!

Screenshot of the hero region of the Smith Seed website
Smith Seed Shipping semi truck

Transportation Forecasts for 2021

During the recent Oregon Seed Association’s Winter Meeting, representatives from the intermodal (IMDL) and over-the road (OTR) transportation sectors provided helpful industry updates and forecasts for 2021. The first spokesperson told the audience to recall 2018 and warned that we might face some of the same issues, particularly with IMDL. With increased usage of IMDL, we are seeing more congestion throughout the country. This congestion not only affects the immediate region, say Atlanta, or Chicago, but it also affects the rest of the country because the equipment can’t turn as fast. This leads to shortages and pickup delays. We saw this in the fall of 2020 and may see more this year. He also warned of increase fuel surcharges, expecting 30% or more by fall. His advice was to move as much product as possible before fall. One of his final points was to encourage the industry to let suppliers organize freight. It helps with allocations, timing, and dray arrangement.

A second speaker gave some shocking data related to OTR drivers. In 2020, there were 200,000 less CDL licenses issued. Increased testing for drugs and alcohol reduced drivers by 50,000. Increased unemployment benefits and COVID-19 concerns also pulled drivers off the road. Retail resurgence has increase demand for OTR trucks. Adding to this, there is an expectation that industrial demand will increase in 2021, putting further demand strains on OTR. He also mentioned that many of the dray carriers are booked 5-7 days in advance.

One important message, especially for those east of Chicago, new rules on IMDL only grant 24 hrs of non-movement before incurring charges. This includes sitting in transfer lots, such as found in Chicago. What does this mean? Basically, if seed moves through Chicago or other transfer site, and sits for over 24 hrs, that load may be subject to additional charges.

Take home message:

  1. Buy early if you can
  2. Give as much lead time as possible
  3. Anticipate higher rates
  4. Use IMDL as much as possible