Dispelling common myths surrounding LTL freight shipping

Transcript

LTL Shipping: Myths vs. Facts

The shipping industry has been hit with a lot of changes in the past few years. The pandemic has brought about labor and equipment shortages, which have tightened capacities across all modes of shipping. The rise of e-commerce has led to increased customer expectations surrounding transit times and delivery options, stretching parcel services thin and leading many manufacturers to turn to less-than-truckload shipping to bolster capacity and keep supply chains moving.

Because of how complex LTL freight shipping can be, many shippers are cautious about using it to move their goods. There are a number of myths and preconceived notions about how LTL works that may make shippers apprehensive about committing to the service. However, many of these myths can be easily dispelled. Today, we are going to look at some of the common misconceptions about LTL shipping and set the record straight. Shippers will find that a well-organized and tech-savvy third-party logistics company (3PL) can easily help them navigate the complicated world of LTL freight and provide them with trusted carriers and a range of pricing options to get their shipments where they need to go.

 

Myth: Transit Times Are Guaranteed

Facts: One of the biggest advantages of LTL shipping is its flexibility. However, with this flexibility comes unpredictability, making it nearly impossible for carriers to guarantee transit times and precise delivery dates. Because LTL carriers are combining multiple shipments on a single trailer, the number of pickups, transfers, and consolidations that a shipment may undergo on its way to its destination can cause a wide range of potential delays and issues at any stop along the way.

 Due to the high number of variables in the LTL process, transit times that are provided at the time of the quote are merely estimations, not guarantees. Delivery windows, available capacities, fluctuating demand, weather and construction delays, and driver availability can all affect transit times, making them difficult to accurately predict and impossible to guarantee. However, LTL makes up for this unpredictability by offering more flexible options and lower prices than other modes of shipping. In addition, with the state of global shipping as chaotic as it is, other modes of shipping like parcel service and full truckload are also having trouble meeting transit times and delivery windows, so LTL may still be the best option available to move your freight.

 

Myth: Booking an LTL Shipment is Complicated and Time-Consuming

Facts: While LTL shipping can be a complex process, especially for first-time shippers, booking an LTL shipment doesn’t need to be complicated or time-consuming. Partnering with an experienced and trusted 3PL like Koho that utilizes an intuitive online platform can make LTL shipments one of the easiest and fastest modes of transportation to book. Many LTL carriers offer dedicated routes that have drivers available to pick up cargo on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, often at short notice. Using a 3PL gives shippers access to a variety of carriers to fit their needs and budget, and their online booking platform can get you multiple quotes for your freight in minutes.

 

Myth: LTL Rates Are Not Negotiable

Facts: LTL shipping is all about finding a mutually beneficial relationship between shippers and carriers. LTL carriers have base rates for different shipping routes and standardized pricing based on the shipment’s size, weight, and class. However, many aspects of a shipping rate are negotiable, and repeat shippers who use the same routes for the same type of shipment can easily negotiate discounts and rate reductions, particularly if they are willing to work with carriers to be flexible or accommodating.

Shippers that are willing to accept off-peak pickup and delivery windows, require the same accessorials for every shipment, standardize their shipments to be consistent and similar, or commit to repeat business can typically negotiate with their carrier for lower rates and discounts. Your 3PL can help you work with carriers to find the best possible deal for your LTL freight.

 

Myth: LTL Freight Classes Never Change

Facts: The National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) board meets twice a year to review freight class codes and make changes to dozens of freight classifications for different commodities. Just because you have been shipping certain items for years under the same freight class doesn’t mean the class won’t change, so it is important to routinely check the NMFC codes for your items to ensure you are using the correct freight class.

In addition, the NMFC system is also slowly adopting density-based classifications, which is further altering the way many commodities are classed. This, coupled with the fact that new technologies are allowing carriers to check the weight, dimensions, and freight class of a high percentage of shipments and issue reclassification charges for any discrepancies they find, means that shippers must constantly check on their freight classes often to avoid unnecessary charges.

 

Myth: LTL Carriers All Charge the Same for Accessorials

Facts: Accessorial charges vary wildly among LTL freight carriers, sometimes by as much as 50%. Common accessorial charges for liftgates, hazardous materials, inside delivery, or remote locations may be calculated differently between carriers depending on the resources, capabilities, and pricing structure they use. Working with a trusted 3PL like Koho that has experience finding deals and negotiating accessorial charges gives shippers the best opportunity to negotiate and secure a low rate for any accessorials they may require.

 

Image of trucks lined up in a parking lot

LTL Shipping: Myths vs. Facts

The shipping industry has been hit with a lot of changes in the past few years. The pandemic has brought about labor and equipment shortages, which have tightened capacities across all modes of shipping. The rise of e-commerce has led to increased customer expectations surrounding transit times and delivery options, stretching parcel services thin and leading many manufacturers to turn to less-than-truckload shipping to bolster capacity and keep supply chains moving.

Because of how complex LTL freight shipping can be, many shippers are cautious about using it to move their goods. There are a number of myths and preconceived notions about how LTL works that may make shippers apprehensive about committing to the service. However, many of these myths can be easily dispelled. Today, we are going to look at some of the common misconceptions about LTL shipping and set the record straight. Shippers will find that a well-organized and tech-savvy third-party logistics company (3PL) can easily help them navigate the complicated world of LTL freight and provide them with trusted carriers and a range of pricing options to get their shipments where they need to go.

 

Myth: Transit Times Are Guaranteed

Facts: One of the biggest advantages of LTL shipping is its flexibility. However, with this flexibility comes unpredictability, making it nearly impossible for carriers to guarantee transit times and precise delivery dates. Because LTL carriers are combining multiple shipments on a single trailer, the number of pickups, transfers, and consolidations that a shipment may undergo on its way to its destination can cause a wide range of potential delays and issues at any stop along the way.

 Due to the high number of variables in the LTL process, transit times that are provided at the time of the quote are merely estimations, not guarantees. Delivery windows, available capacities, fluctuating demand, weather and construction delays, and driver availability can all affect transit times, making them difficult to accurately predict and impossible to guarantee. However, LTL makes up for this unpredictability by offering more flexible options and lower prices than other modes of shipping. In addition, with the state of global shipping as chaotic as it is, other modes of shipping like parcel service and full truckload are also having trouble meeting transit times and delivery windows, so LTL may still be the best option available to move your freight.

 

Myth: Booking an LTL Shipment is Complicated and Time-Consuming

Facts: While LTL shipping can be a complex process, especially for first-time shippers, booking an LTL shipment doesn’t need to be complicated or time-consuming. Partnering with an experienced and trusted 3PL like Koho that utilizes an intuitive online platform can make LTL shipments one of the easiest and fastest modes of transportation to book. Many LTL carriers offer dedicated routes that have drivers available to pick up cargo on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, often at short notice. Using a 3PL gives shippers access to a variety of carriers to fit their needs and budget, and their online booking platform can get you multiple quotes for your freight in minutes.

 

Myth: LTL Rates Are Not Negotiable

Facts: LTL shipping is all about finding a mutually beneficial relationship between shippers and carriers. LTL carriers have base rates for different shipping routes and standardized pricing based on the shipment’s size, weight, and class. However, many aspects of a shipping rate are negotiable, and repeat shippers who use the same routes for the same type of shipment can easily negotiate discounts and rate reductions, particularly if they are willing to work with carriers to be flexible or accommodating.

Shippers that are willing to accept off-peak pickup and delivery windows, require the same accessorials for every shipment, standardize their shipments to be consistent and similar, or commit to repeat business can typically negotiate with their carrier for lower rates and discounts. Your 3PL can help you work with carriers to find the best possible deal for your LTL freight.

 

Myth: LTL Freight Classes Never Change

Facts: The National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) board meets twice a year to review freight class codes and make changes to dozens of freight classifications for different commodities. Just because you have been shipping certain items for years under the same freight class doesn’t mean the class won’t change, so it is important to routinely check the NMFC codes for your items to ensure you are using the correct freight class.

In addition, the NMFC system is also slowly adopting density-based classifications, which is further altering the way many commodities are classed. This, coupled with the fact that new technologies are allowing carriers to check the weight, dimensions, and freight class of a high percentage of shipments and issue reclassification charges for any discrepancies they find, means that shippers must constantly check on their freight classes often to avoid unnecessary charges.

 

Myth: LTL Carriers All Charge the Same for Accessorials

Facts: Accessorial charges vary wildly among LTL freight carriers, sometimes by as much as 50%. Common accessorial charges for liftgates, hazardous materials, inside delivery, or remote locations may be calculated differently between carriers depending on the resources, capabilities, and pricing structure they use. Working with a trusted 3PL like Koho that has experience finding deals and negotiating accessorial charges gives shippers the best opportunity to negotiate and secure a low rate for any accessorials they may require.

 

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