As we head into peak season, capacity restraints, changing rates, and shipping delays can make shipping operations challenging. Less-than-truckload shipping (LTL) is usually the most cost-effective way to send shipments that will not take up an entire trailer, but it is important to understand the key points in making this mode of transportation easier.
LTL Shipping as a Transportation Option
LTL shipping is one of the transportation options for the delivery of your goods. It is a popular mode of shipping with retailers and small businesses because it allows them to move small amounts of goods without reserving an entire truck. Instead, the shipment goes on a trailer with several other shippers. Each shipper only pays for the space they occupy with their shipment. This is a logistics solution for many companies who have products that are small in size or have smaller shipments.
Benefits of LTL Shipping
Beyond being a convenient way to ship, there are other benefits that make LTL shipping a good choice for many companies.
- Reduced Shipping Costs. Since LTL combines smaller loads on one trailer, costs are reduced for the shippers and the carrier.
- Green Shipping Method. LTL is one of the more environmentally friendly shipping options. Optimal routing and fewer vehicles making deliveries reduces emissions and fuel consumption.
- Better Planning. This shipping mode is an ideal option for shippers who ship regularly. This enables the carrier to have a better plan and provide consistent availability.
- More Options. LTL carriers offer shipping options such as liftgate delivery, custom delivery windows, and limited pickup for the most personalized shipping experience that is based on need.
10 Ways to Make LTL Shipments Simple
LTL shipping does not need to be complicated as long as it is planned out. This will avoid delays and any issues later on.
- Plan your shipments out in advance. Take into consideration weather conditions, holidays, and other factors that can affect your schedule. Shipments that have time-sensitive goods require a guaranteed service to avoid last-minute costs. Make sure you also plan your shipping budget so that you don’t run into unexpected costs at the end of the quarter.
- Use Various Carriers. Putting all your shipments with one carrier means you run the risk of delays or insufficient capacity.
- Choose an LTL Carrier. Not all carriers are experienced in LTL shipping. Find one that ships to your destination to get the lowest costs. A 3PL can help you find the most cost-effective carriers for your shipments.
- Utilize Technology. Technology is a facilitator in logistics planning. Online LTL shipping services include a portal for booking and scheduling shipments which makes shipping easier. Online portals also automate the logistics process and provide customer support.
- Choose the Freight Class. Choosing the correct freight class is the way to get an accurate rate, otherwise you might get an invoice revision. Save all classification documentation in case there is a discrepancy between the quote and invoice.
- Package Correctly. One of the best ways to make your LTL shipping easier is by creating a simple and efficient packaging solution. The most popular packaging method for LTL shipments is pallets. Wrapped pallets protect freight during loading and unloading as well as during transit. Crating and boxing are other options.
- Get the Best Rates. LTL rates vary widely based on freight class, total weight, and additional services. A TMS (Transportation Management System) finds carriers that offer the best rates for your shipment. A multi-carrier TMS can identify pricing and the lanes by carrier.
- Check the Bill of Lading. The Bill of Lading is the shipment receipt or contract with the carrier. Make sure that it is accurate and given to the carrier at the time of pickup.
- Get Insurance. LTL shipping provides insurance for every shipment. There are several insurance options and liability limits.
- Track the Shipment. Some carriers prioritize LTL shipments more than others. Tracking your shipment will ensure that your freight is moving along according to schedule.
Working with a 3PL like Red Arrow Logistics offers many advantages including cost savings. When you want to ship items via LTL, talk to a shipping expert which can get you the best cost and service and help avoid shipping disruptions.
Your Trusted Partner
At Red Arrow Logistics, we provide expertise and white glove customer service with fast-growing, complex, and high-value supply chains. As the next-generation model of logistics companies, we offer tailored transportation and logistics solutions — from single shipments to complex over-dimensional and international orders.
Red Arrow offers the scale and scope of services including air, ocean, and ground transportation to meet the budget and schedule requirements of the largest and smallest companies alike. If we can be of assistance, please email us at email@example.com or give us a call at 425-747-7914.