A planning guide to cargo shipping during spring thaw

W.J. Jones

Whether you’re an importer or an exporter, making the right decisions will undoubtedly have an impact on costs and delivery times. And during spring thaw, when shipping logistics become a little more complicated, these decisions take on even more importance. The following tips should help you make informed decisions when the time comes

Why are there specific rules for transportation during spring thaw?

In spring, the mercury rises and the ground thaws; winter takes a toll on our roads, which are 30% to 70% more fragile due to temperature variations and water accumulation. To avoid further damage to the roads, certain precautions should be taken. Vehicles that are too heavy risk causing significant damage to roads, while vehicles with a lighter load, even if not by much, contribute to better road conditions.

How are the spring thaw transportation regulations determined?

During spring thaw, Transport Québec performs real-time assessments of road conditions and determines the appropriate rules. This period can stretch from early March to mid-June, and varies according to three predetermined thawing zones, based on both weather and geography. Restrictions varying from 8% to 20% can be imposed on vehicle loads. And even if spring thaw is over in the south of the province (zone 1), some restrictions may still apply to other zones located further north.

How do these restrictions impact cargo shipping logistics?

This restrictions may entail additional costs for carriers, creating the need for alternate routes, longer shipping times, delayed cargo departures or arrivals, lighter loads, or the purchase of additional equipment for better weight distribution. Proper shipment planning can contribute to alleviating these hurdles and help make better informed decisions.

  • Accelerating or delaying cargo shipments;
  • Choosing to purchase equipment that will allow you to ship as planned (additional costs);
  • Charging extra fees for shipping in order to help absorb these additional costs.

While it is important to plan ahead for possible spring thaw adjustments, you should also consider the various restrictions that may apply. A carrier who gets caught with an overweight load will not be allowed to go through with a delivery, will need to pay a fine, be forced to offload or redistribute all or part of the load on the spot, arrange for pickup and rerouting of cargo, etc. Non-compliance can have costly consequences.

Expert tips to save time and money

Your transportation logistics expert is a specialist in this matter, providing valuable assistance during spring thaw to ensure that your cargo reaches its destination as planned, and answering any questions you may have about these restrictions. Every year, spring thaw causes unexpected, often annoying surprises. For greater peace of mind, make sure you double-check every aspect of your shipping plans with your W.J. Jones transportation logistics expert.

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