The new normal: Managing expectations for LTL transit times in 2022

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The New Normal: Managing Expectations for LTL Transit Times in 2022

One of the most common mistakes shippers make when booking LTL freight is misunderstanding transit times. While it is a great way to save money when shipping less than a truckload’s worth of items, LTL shipping is a complicated logistics puzzle with many moving parts, potential delays, and unforeseen challenges. LTL shipments often change trucks frequently, are consolidated and reorganized multiple times at various transit hubs along their journey, and are subject to a variety of holdups and setbacks that can make it difficult to rely on firm transit times and carrier guarantees. 

The freight shipping market has faced unprecedented conditions in the past couple of years. Shippers, carriers, and providers have been forced to adapt to labor and equipment shortages, capacity issues, and strict new safety protocols, all while trying to keep up operationally with a massive surge in freight volume. These challenges have made LTL shipping transit times even more difficult to pin down. With no end in sight to freight congestion, it is more important than ever to understand the current realities surrounding LTL freight, manage expectations accordingly, and clearly communicate to avoid supply chain disruptions, misunderstandings, and customer dissatisfaction.

What Affects LTL Transit Times?

When looking at LTL transit times, the first thing to remember is that they are estimates, not guarantees. When you receive an instant online quote for an LTL shipment, the estimated transit time given is not set in stone. It may be subject to any number of delays that can affect the actual amount of time it takes for the shipment to arrive at its destination.

Different carriers may estimate different transit times for the same route, depending on how many trucks they have moving between the specified origin and destination. Because LTL shipments are carried and transferred between multiple trucks on their route rather than by one truck from pickup to delivery, the number of trucks a carrier has working in that lane can affect how fast a load is picked up between transit hubs. Multiple trucks and transit hubs mean more opportunities for delays to arise.

In addition, LTL freight is also subject to the types of delays that can affect any shipment at any time. Delays and reroutes due to weather, traffic, road construction, accidents, and Hours of Service limits on drivers can all slow the transit time of a shipment.


How to Deal with Longer LTL Transit Times Effectively 

The first way to combat lengthy LTL transit times and congestion is to eliminate preventable errors and unnecessary delays on your end. Even under normal shipping conditions, the shorter the lead time on a booked LTL shipment, the more difficult it can be to find capacity with the right carrier. In today’s chaotic shipping environment, providing ample lead time for carriers and securing capacity as soon as possible can have a considerable impact on the ability to meet your transit goals.

The best way to make sure you are shipping with the right carrier for your needs is to use an experienced 3PL online platform like Koho to book your shipment. Koho and other 3PLs can provide access to an expansive and trusted carrier network that can give you instant quotes for a variety of carriers that can meet your transit deadlines at a competitive price.

When booking a shipment online, avoid unnecessary delays stemming from simple mistakes. Make sure the information filled out online for your quote and bill of lading is accurate, including the description and dimensions of your load, the date and time of the pickup, and any necessary accessorials required.


The Key to Managing Expectations: Communication

Even if you have done everything correctly, unexpected delays can still arise at any point during transit. If this occurs, the best strategy to mitigate any problems resulting from a load being behind schedule is communication.

If you have used a 3PL online platform, your LTL freight tracking information is only a click away, so you can maintain visibility on your shipment, wherever it is on its journey. Communicate with your carrier to stay on top of any developments or status changes to your shipment that may affect its transit time.

Lastly, remember to communicate and share information with your customers or whoever is receiving the shipment. Maintaining transparency and open lines of communication between the shipper and consignee is critical to both parties being able to adjust expectations and adapt to any delays as quickly as possible. This will help ensure business relationships remain solid and backup plans can be put into effect if need be. 

Book your next shipment with Koho and let our shipping experts connect you with our network of trusted carriers to ensure your shipment gets there when you need it.

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