LTL and FTL Freight
Q: When Should I use a Common Carrier?
A: If your package weighs more than 150 lbs, it is too heavy for a parcel service and you will need a common carrier. LTL (Less than Truckload) carriers will transport shipments weighing anywhere from 100 to 10,000 lbs and on 6 pallets or less. If your shipment weighs more than 10,000 lbs, it may take up an entire truck which means you will need a FTL (Full Truckload) carrier.
Q: What is the Standard Procedure of a Common Carrier?
A: The standard procedure is a truck driver backing up to a loading dock for the shipment to be loaded by the shipper then driving the shipment to the destination loading dock to be unloaded by the consignee. Any additional services required outside of this standard procedure, may require additional fees called accessorials. Examples of additional services needed could be: liftgate required, residential delivery, or limited access delivery.
Q: How will my shipment be transported with a LTL Carrier?
A: Your shipment will be transported via truck along with other customer's shipments so that the costs of transportation are shared which makes LTL transportation economical and affordable.
Q: How will my shipment be transported with a FTL Carrier?
A: If your shipment is large enough to take up the entire truck space, it is a "full truckload" and will be transported via truck all by itself. If your shipment does not quite require the entire space, it is considered a "partial truckload" and will be transported via truck along with another partial load. Partial or Volume loads are normally anywhere from 7 -14 pallets, or 801 - 1799 cubic feet. Full truckloads are over 15,000 lbs. and anywhere from 1800- 3200 cubic feet on 15 or more pallets.
Q: What is freight class?
A: Freight Class refers to the National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) and it is the category of your freight as defined by the National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA).Your shipment's freight class determines the carrier's shipping charges. There are 18 freight classes ranging from class 50 (the least expensive) to class 500 (most expensive). The class of your shipment is determined by its contents and NMFC item number. The density of the shipment is the main factor that determines the freight class, but some other factors can affect it such as value of freight, oversize, or perishability.
Q: What is a NMFC Number?
A: This is the item number that specifically identifies each type of product that can be shipped by a LTL carrier. The National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA) assigns NMFC item #'s to all products along with a freight class. The NMFC # identifies what you are shipping and it's freight class.
Q: How does Freight Class and NMFC # affect my shipment?
A: Your product NMFC # identifies the freight class and the freight class determines your shipping charges. For this reason, it is critical that you know the correct NMFC # and freight class in order to receive accurate freight charges and to ensure that the carrier does not re-class your shipment which could result in a higher shipping charge.
Q: How do I find out my Freight Class and NMFC #?
A: All classes and NMFC #'s are catalogued in the NMFC Tarrif for freight carriers. Any freight carrier can look this information up for you. You may also call the NMFTA direct at: (703) 838-1810 for more details.
Q: What is the Bill of Lading?
A: The Bill of Lading (BOL) is a required document to move a freight shipment. It is a legal document between the shipper of a particular good and the carrier detailing the type, quantity and destination of the good being carried. The bill of lading also serves as a receipt of shipment when the good is delivered to the predetermined destination. Everyone involved should have a copy, (buyer, seller, and carrier) and it is important to give a copy to the truck driver when he makes the pickup.
How to Ship Freight Affordably
The basic shipper operates under a few assumptions. One of them is that freight shipping costs are at a constant price (inflation - adjusted).
Any business of any size can level the playing field in shipping and delivery. With careful planning, you can save more money through cheaper freight shipping.
How do you do it? How can you ship freight at reduced costs?
There are many ways to lower your shipping expenses.
1. Opt For LTL Freight Shipping
The first thing you need to consider is to operate using LTL Freight. Less than truckload or LTL is a great service for people with a small business. If you have more shipments than a parcel but not enough to fill a truck, this is the option for you.
How LTL shipping works is not very complicated. They take your freight, ship them with others, and deliver them together as a full truckload. When it comes to freight shipping, this is one of the best options for a small business.
For one, LTL freight costs less since you are not occupying the entire truck. LTL shippers pay for the entire truckload as a group, known as pooling or consolidation. LTL freight shipping is a fraction of the cost compared to a full truckload.
Many shipments from a variety of shippers means cheaper freight shipping. Consolidation can save you as much as 25% compared to non-pooling freight loads.
2. Research How To Ship Freight
It's crucial to learn and research shippers. You need to compare shipping offers and deals. Experience can be a difference maker, but new shippers and startups may charge less.
Understanding how to ship something and the policies involved are essential as well. The market provides different options for freight shipping. All you need to do is check on what is best for your situation.
Good knowledge of how to ship freight gives you a chance to take advantage of deals and discounts.
You want to try and compare shipping companies.
3. Get A Steady Lane Volume Contract
Steady lane volume helps maintain consistency. This contract entails you providing consistent freight during a specific time interval. This provides a number of benefits for people who want cheap freight shipping.
Steady lane volume assures a freight carrier that they will have consistent business with you. In exchange for this steady influx of freight shipping, carriers will give you a discount.
In this type of freight shipping, you also create a business relationship with your carrier. This is great as you can contact your carrier if there is extra work with extra priority.
4. Build Strong Business Relationships for Cheaper Freight Shipping
Even if you don't take steady lane contracts, building a strong relationship with your carrier can lead to cheaper freight shipping. If you can create a long-term strategic business relationship, your carrier will help you with shipping.
A strategic partnership leads to advantages. These can be anything from better freight shipping priorities to better rates.
Shipper-carrier relationships can lead to as much as a 10% savings in freight markups.
5. Add More Shipping Lead Time in Freight Shipping
Adding lead time gives you better choices for the shipping method you want for your freight.
Last minute shipping costs more money. Time-sensitive, expedited shipping is more expensive. Having good lead time in freight shipping helps to reduce the cost.
You want to plan on all the stages of your freight shipment, pick up, loading & delivery.
Longer lead times means cheaper freight shipping.
6. Optimize Packaging, Handling and Loading
Optimizing packaging, handling, and loading will save you a lot of money.
Proper packaging and handling can lessen the space you take in the truck. This can also give you a chance to add more to your freight. Optimizing loading can allow you to prevent assessorial charges - extra fees attached to transportation services such as waiting time, storage, packing, extra fuel, etc.
Take Advantage of the Many Ways To Ship Freight For Less
When you ship freight, there are ways to reduce costs and save some money. Many of these solutions entail optimizing your business shipping process and building good relationships.
If you try to be vigilant with your freight shipping, you can get more beyond "business as usual" rates. Check if the tips above will work with your current business strategy. Be observant of the trends and keep asking.