Spring is finally near. For some, it couldn’t have come soon enough after a brutal winter that brought repeated and record-breaking storms.

Transportation companies were reminded once again that communication and preparation are key when dealing with unfavorable weather conditions.

“The recent storms across the country have obviously impacted capacity in certain areas, and created a number of service challenges,” said Kerry Byrne, executive vice president of Total Quality Logistics, Cincinnati.

“It has given us an opportunity to prove our value as we have teams working around the clock to find additional capacity and solve problems for our customers.”

Rob Kurtz, vice president and general manager of Sunrise Logistics Inc., Ephrata, Pa., drove through an early morning whiteout to reach his office Feb. 26 as a massive winter storm pounded Northeastern U.S.

“This winter has been difficult,” he said. “When we’re in a snow storm situation, very rarely do we shut down operations. We’re going to try to get through to make our deliveries. We do more pre-planning in bad weather.”

Communication paramount

Kurtz said communicating with customers is even more important than usual in such situations.

Sunrise’s contingency planning includes notifying customers of conditions and inquiring whether they can take delivery a day early or a day later and if they can handle increased volume.

Kurtz said Sunrise also adds routes to deal with the challenges.

Mike Laws, director of logistics for Edinburg, Texas-based Frontera Logistics, said he pays close attention to three- and five-day forecasts as loads are being put together.

He said Frontera will attempt to get a truck on the road early to get in front of a storm or will route around foul weather if possible.

Like others, he stressed keeping customers apprised of the situation.

“What else can you do?” he said.l “Especially in the Northeast corridor? Even if it’s bad news, we try to communicate with our customers.”