Regarding the media, it’s hard to tell exactly where the world stands on a position. There are always two or more sides to the story, and it seems the freight industry isn’t any different. Transportation execs tout words like “recession” owing to dismal growth and plummeting freight volumes while millions of dollars are being poured into technology driven logistics startups. Even traditional logistics functions such as Less Than Truckload (LTL) are experiencing new levels of growth by building new terminals, expanding territory, and growing their customer base.
In fact, the rise of eCommerce lowered the entry costs for shippers and trading companies coming into the market place, while LTL carriers are quickly shaping up to be in a favorable position when it comes to freight.
While there are no rules other than regulation that could be carved in stone, we collected some advice and other helpful tidbits for shippers considering shipping LTL, based on a good old rule of thumbs to consider:
Common Issues with LTL
One of the most common issues is that LTL shipments are wrongly classified which, for shippers, can double the amount of originally quoted freight rates.
To reduce re-class fees, shippers should always carefully enter the product description, weight, dimensions, class and proper NMFCs (National Motor Freight Classification).
To avoid disappointments, it’s good to know that an LTL carrier’s transit times doesn’t count the day of pick-up, holidays, or weekends. For example, if a shipment is picked up on Friday, and the transit time is two days, then the shipment will be delivered on Tuesday.
Just as airplanes won’t wait if the passenger is late, the driver can’t wait if a shipment is not ready at time of pick up. Typically in these events, shipment must be rescheduled for the following day. While scheduling, also keep in mind that carriers require a two-hour window to schedule a pick up. Additionally, to ensure that the freight meets the on-time delivery standard to the customer, it must be shipped before 5:00 PM.
Be Aware of Any Accessorials
An LTL shipment can be anything from a household item to larger industrial equipment. If a lift-gate, a pallet-jack or other equipment is required, the customer must specify that in the special instructions and remember that special delivery can add a couple of days to the delivery date.
Last but not the least!
Drivers, fortunately with very few exceptions, will make every attempt to protect the customers items. However, accidents do happen. Although carriers have their own insurance against losses, shippers should acquire extra insurance to limit liability. The limits of liability vary carrier to carrier and more so, when FAK (Freight all Kinds) rates are applied. Other insurance options include purchasing your own coverage from companies like UPS.
Utilize these simple rules of thumb every time you ship freight, and minimize your surprises when it comes time to billing.