When most people see a big rig rolling down the highway, they assume the trailer is filled to capacity. However, that’s not always the case. In fact, the trailer may be at far less than capacity. Known as Less Than Truckload shipping, it’s estimated that this form of shipping accounts for more than 95 percent of the total business of most trucking companies. Yet while this form of shipment is quite popular with businesses and consumers, many people still know relatively little about it. Therefore, if you are considering a Less Than Truckload, or LTL, shipment, here are some ideas to ensure you get the best rates and shipping options.
Make Sure Each Shipper Pays Their Share
Because all shipments are pooled onto a single freight truck for an LTL shipment, it’s imperative to make sure each shipper who has freight on that truck is paying their fair share. To accomplish this, have the company handling your shipment give you an itemized report showing you that each shipper has paid their cost of the shipment. By doing this, you’ll be assured the rates you’re paying are competitive and reasonable.
Take Advantage of Accessory Services
Prestige Worldwide Logistics said, “When it comes to shipping an LTL shipment, much money can be saved if you take advantage of various accessory services provided by the carrier.” Some of the most popular services used include liftgate service at delivery or pickup, notification prior to delivery, freeze protection, and inside delivery. To make sure you get the best possible deal, work with a company that will bill these services at a predetermined flat fee, ensuring there will be no surprises when you get the final bill.
Examine Scheduling for Possible Delays
If there is one thing a shipper does not want to deal with during their shipment, it’s problems with scheduling and delays. To limit the chances your shipment will be affected by delays, try to make sure drivers who will be delivering your shipment are well-trained in LTL shipments and deliveries. In some cases, drivers may not be knowledgeable about how to make LTL delivery as efficient as possible. If it turns out there are many extra stops along your shipment’s route, you might want to try another carrier. Otherwise, you may get charged premium fees for extra stops.
Use Pool Distribution and Consolidation
If you consistently have multiple loads of small shipments, it may be to your advantage to consider pool distribution and consolidation. Whether it’s picking up shipments at a central staging area and combining them with other shipments, as is the case with pool distribution, or picking up multiple shipments from various locations and staging them for customer pickup, as with pool consolidation, you can enjoy multiple benefits when using these options. Some of the best benefits associated with pool programs include easier adapting to last-minute changes in the volume of items to be shipped out, saving money due to a lack of multiple stop truckloads, and not having to worry about switching to air shipments.
Transportation Management System
If it’s large amounts of savings you’re seeking for all of your smaller freight shipments, always be sure to utilize any chance you have to use the carrier’s TMS, or Transportation Management System. This software, which can often be accessed through a carrier’s website, can provide great ideas on to how maximize your savings and build more flexibility into your shipment’s schedule. One of the biggest trends in the LTL business involves E-commerce, which in the past few years has become a standard way of doing business for large and small businesses. However, before utilizing these options for maximum efficiency, make sure you understand what they are and whether they will save you money or simply create more potential headaches for you along the way.
By incorporating some or all of these ideas into your next LTL shipment, chances are your goods will have a pleasant trip. Whether it’s checking logistics or gaining a better understanding of the LTL process, you’ll be positioned to become an LTL shipment expert in no time.