Time to read: 6 min.
Shipping your cargo using LTL services is an effective way to optimize your logistics. Of course, this depends on your business needs. If you’re looking for that perfect storm of greatness that happens when an LTL shipment saves you money, reduces your stress, and keeps your budget on track, this blog might be of interest to you. I’ll share some of my personal experiences in LTL shipping to give you a set of valuable tips that will make your day-to-day shipping easier.
DO’S IN LTL
1. Choose the right carrier for your shipping needs. One of the advantages of LTL shipping is the availability of a wide network of local, nationwide, and specialized carriers. So, how do you select the best option? Well again, it depends on your specific needs. Think about what type of commodity you are moving, how fast you need it moved, and if any special requirements are needed to ship. It’s drastically different to move a pallet of pillows to a warehouse than it would be to move monitor screens to a new office. Here’s another tip, look up the best release rate when choosing a carrier. No one thinks their load will be lost or damaged, but it does happen. Making sure you have the coverage to be reimbursed for the full cost of your shipment is a best practice. To learn more about shipping claims, download our free whitepaper, How to Minimize Risks and Understand Liability in LTL and FTL Shipping.
2. Always make sure your freight is ready to be loaded. Before you schedule an LTL shipment pick-up, prepare the shipment so that there aren’t any delays when the driver gets there. The shipment will be ready to go as soon as the following requirements are checked:
- The shipment is properly packaged and labeled.
- Two printed BOL copies are ready, one for the driver and one for the warehouse. This BOL should be signed and include a pro number before the driver leaves.
- The shipper & consignee information, cargo description, and payment information are correct.
3. Provide accurate dimensions, weight, and commodity in the shipping quote to ensure you are quoted properly. Using estimated dimensions or weight might incur unexpected charges and delays. LTL carriers schedule and assign drivers according to the instructions they receive for pick-up. If a driver arrives to the shipper location and the shipment is bigger or heavier than anticipated, the driver might not be able to pick it up due to lack of truck capacity. Having the correct information on hand at pick-up will prevent headaches and save you dollars from extra charges.
4. Check out the carrier’s restrictions regarding weight, volume, type of freight that they will move, and coverage before arranging a pick-up. Confirming that your freight can be moved by the carrier you’ve chosen will avoid unnecessary delays. That way you won’t miss a day having to search for a new carrier that can move your freight.
5. Provide accurate information to your provider regarding pick up or delivery requirements. If you have any additional or special requirements when shipping, it is very important to tell your vendor at the time of quoting. By doing this, the trucking company can offer you the best options available and all of your needs will be covered. Here’s an example of why this is important. Your shipment requires a liftgate, but you didn’t request that when quoting and your shipment is already scheduled. The carrier only goes to the location you need on Tuesdays. At the time of pick-up, the driver notices that he needs a liftgate, which is not the truck he brought. It will be a week before he can come back. That is a 7 day delay!
Shipping accessorials can become a headache in LTL shipping. If you would like to learn more read Most Common Extra Charges in LTL Shipping.
DON’TS IN LTL
6. Don’t expect shipments to always run on time. An LTL standard service works on estimated transit times. This means that pick-up, transit, and delivery times are estimated due to the high volume of freight, traffic, or other issues that can occur on an LTL route. The whole process might result in delays that drivers, carriers, or even customers can’t handle or predict. Anytime you are shipping an LTL, you must make sure your entire supply chain is aware of these possibilities. If you have urgent shipments, look for other types of services like expedited or guaranteed services in order to ensure your freight arrives on time.
It is important to note that “LTL guaranteed services” DOES NOT mean guaranteed pick-up. A guaranteed service means that transit times are guaranteed but pick-up is not. Most LTL carriers consider any shipment picked up after 5 p.m. to be a next-day actual pick-up. This highlights the importance of planning in advance and preparing yourself for unexpected delays.
7. Don’t forget to keep track of your shipments. In the trucking industry, there are a lot of variables that can affect your shipment including the weather, holidays, etc. That’s why it is so important to keep track of your shipment, so you can react on time. Consistent follow-up is very important to the success of a shipment.
8. Don’t think that prices are fixed. Shipping costs are not fixed due to extra charges and accessorials that may be added to your LTL shipping invoice. These charges will depend on the accessorials needed to move your freight.
9. Don’t send original documents with the shipment. They can get damaged or even lost. It’s very important that you don’t lose the original documents because this might delay your shipment.
10. Don’t receive any shipment without inspection. You should always check out the shipment you’re receiving. This includes checking that the number of pieces in the shipment and the weight of the shipment match the BOL and if there is any damage to the cargo. As a tip, always make sure the driver is present at the moment of inspection, so you’re covered. If there are any discrepancies with the BOL or damage to your cargo, write down the state of the load on the proof of delivery (POD) form and have the driver sign this document.
If you have questions on your LTL shipping process or need more details on how GLT can help you optimize your shipping, don’t hesitate to contact an expert below.