Because of the shortage of drivers, freight is becoming more expensive. This is leading many savvy freight movers to consider alternate methods of getting their cargo from point A to point B. Less than Truckload (or LTL) shipping is one of these methods. If you are looking to shift from having your own shipment to using an LTL carrier, there are some common challenging details you should be aware of upfront.
Pick the Proper Freight Class
If you are unfamiliar with the freight classing system, now is the time to bone up on it. Make sure you understand how the system works so that you don’t end up overpaying for your shipment. Not only will having the proper fright class allow you to avoid delays should you need to have your shipment re-classed after pickup, but it will ensure that you are getting the proper rate for the freight that you are shipping. There are many online resources that can help you determine proper freight class, so take some time and learn the details to efficiently begin shipping LTL.
Finding a Carrier
Finding an LTL carrier may prove more difficult than you might think. Many companies do not offer the service, and the ones that do can quite often be booked. You may need to do a lot of digging in order to find one that is going to be compatible with your freight needs. Know that, despite the fact that they may be difficult to find, spending the time to search for a suitable company is well worth the effort. You may find a wide range of rates between carriers (depending on pickup, destination, class and other factors). Some extra time and investigation can end up saving you a bundle on freight. Your diligence will be rewarded.
Make Sure of Transit Times
LTL shipments are given a lower priority than other shipments. This means that, when you are shipping using an LTL carrier, your delivery could get bumped back a day or two, maybe even a week. If you are moving time-sensitive cargo, you need to plan conservatively. Always make sure that the worst case scenario still falls into an acceptable time frame for you. Should it not, you may need to seek other methods of shipping your freight.
Proper Packaging is Critical
Having your goods properly packed up and ready to go when your LTL carrier arrives can make all the difference. You should make sure to have your freight secure within its own crates. Getting custom built crates is a great idea because these can be tailor-made to your shipment. Your shipment should also be properly palleted so that it can be picked up using a fork truck or pallet jacks. Shipping LTL isn’t like using the pay mail order services, and they won’t be able to load your freight if it is not properly packed.
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