The domestic and international moving industries are slowly returning to pre-pandemic norms. Covid created a perfect storm for the shipping industry: supply chain disruptions coupled with a labor shortage drove prices upward and caused extended delays. TRC’s household goods shipping partners tell us that costs are gradually declining and will eventually stabilize. Although there is still a domestic driver shortage, there are improvements in that sector.
From an international relocation perspective, assignment acceptance rates did not decline as much as many in the mobility industry expected, and international shipments faced markedly higher costs and extreme delays. However, this situation is also stabilizing, and international moves are anticipated to continue to rise in 2023.
There are always unexpected issues that can cause upheaval in the moving industry, such as weather problems, labor strikes, cyber-attacks and even global pandemics. So while things appear to be returning to normal, the reality may be very different in certain regional pockets.
What does this mean for the mobility industry?
The pandemic forced the moving industry to devise alternative ways of performing many of its standard tasks. Arguably, the most positive change is the adoption of automated processes. For those who need to quarantine or prefer to stay socially distant, virtual walk-throughs for the estimating and inventory processes have been a win-win for both the mover and the transferring employee.
The virtual inventory allows the moving company to refer to the video for specific details rather than notes, photos and memory, leading to more accurate estimates. Although the movers rely on the transferring employee to take a precise video(s) of their belongings, the employee typically recognizes that comprehensive videos are in their best interest. From a claims perspective, automation takes some guesswork out of determining whether or not an item was shipped and its pre-shipment condition.
Also, 2022 saw the busy season start earlier and end later as moves on hold during the pandemic were re-started along with newly initiated relocations. In 2023, we expect the moving flow to revert to more typical patterns during the year.