Shipping during a pandemic: Tips from the LTL experts at Koho

Transcript

Shipping during a pandemic: Tips from the LTL experts at Koho

The last two years have seen a lot of changes in the LTL shipping industry. More shippers than ever have turned to less-than-truckload shipping to fulfill their freight needs. LTL offers greater flexibility, reduced costs, and a more efficient model for shippers looking to avoid the high costs of full truckload shipments. And while LTL has its drawbacks – slower delivery times, stricter packaging requirements, and increased handling of cargo – it can provide a welcome alternative to those looking for a way to work around some of the obstacles that have impacted the shipping industry due to COVID-19.

The pandemic has reshaped a number of aspects of the shipping industry. An increase in e-commerce has driven up demand for trailer space and faster transit times, labor and equipment shortages have plagued carriers, and capacity issues and new safety protocols have slowed shipping lanes and created bottlenecks in traditionally efficient LTL markets. To adapt to these recent changes, it is important for shippers to use best practices to ensure their LTL freight gets where it needs to go on time. Here are a few tips for shipping LTL during (and after) the pandemic.

 

Diversify Your Carrier Network 

As capacity restrictions continue to be an issue in the volatile LTL market, shippers need to be willing to explore all carrier options to maintain efficiency. To increase efficiency, carriers have begun to prioritize shipments based on network optimization and yield management strategies, and shippers need to do the same. As carriers shift towards accepting shipments that will drive the highest profits and service based on commodities, origins, destinations, and shipping lanes, shippers must be willing to expand their carrier networks in order to find the available capacity for their shipments.

Working with a 3PL like Koho can help shippers find additional capacity options for their shipments. The shipping experts at Koho can also work with shippers to establish multi-carrier networks that align shippers’ needs with carrier priorities.

 

Schedule Ahead 

Creating and optimizing a pickup schedule that accommodates carriers is a great way to guarantee capacity for your shipments. Because yield and maximizing capacity are carrier priorities in the current market, carriers are looking for ways to make multiple pickups and drop-offs in a single day, so shippers should look for ways to make pickups predictable and painless. This means scheduling shipments as far in advance as possible to allow carriers to optimize their scheduling. It also means organizing pickups to lower wait times for drivers and enable carriers to make multiple pickups at once rather than a string of them throughout the week.

 

Provide Accurate Shipment Details 

The high volume of LTL freight demand has made scheduling especially tight, and anything shippers can do to improve efficiency is paramount. A big part of that efficiency is avoiding documentation errors and inaccurate freight information.

LTL shippers must provide accurate details regarding a shipment’s characteristics upfront when obtaining a quote to avoid reclassification, reweighs, or dimensional issues that may result in a missed pickup or terminal delay. In addition, it is crucial that shippers also provide any relevant information about pickup and delivery locations, special instructions, or additional equipment necessary to load or unload the cargo. For example, if a pickup location is remote or the shipment requires a liftgate to load, and it is not indicated on the paperwork, it can result in delays or rebill charges, or the carrier may opt to decline a shipment rather than deal with the reduced efficiency.

 

Expect Delays

Unfortunately, many of the issues facing the LTL industry at the moment are unavoidable. Bottlenecks, capacity issues, and labor shortages caused by the pandemic are problems that are affecting the shipping industry across the board and will require time and innovation to solve. In the meantime, managing expectations is essential.

Shippers should expect problems to arise and not everything going exactly to plan all the time. The best way to mitigate delays is to anticipate and communicate them clearly. We recommend that shippers add at least one day of variability to quoted transit times, sometimes more, depending on which freight lanes are being impacted most significantly at the time.

It is also important to communicate potential delays and extended transit times to customers so that expectations can be managed throughout the process and adjustments can be made at all levels. 

Work with a 3PL to Anticipate Market Conditions

Understanding how your LTL freight fits into the current issues facing the LTL market is challenging, as circumstances can change frequently, and it can be difficult to keep up. Collaborating with a third-party logistics provider like Koho gives you an informational advantage when trying to find the best way to ship your goods.

A trusted 3PL like Koho can offer the technology, expertise, communication, and data necessary to overcome shifting obstacles and provide relevant solutions. Partnering with Koho can help your business create a more innovative strategy to improve your LTL shipping performance and weather the current shipping climate without missing a beat.

Image of trucks lined up in a parking lot

Shipping during a pandemic: Tips from the LTL experts at Koho

The last two years have seen a lot of changes in the LTL shipping industry. More shippers than ever have turned to less-than-truckload shipping to fulfill their freight needs. LTL offers greater flexibility, reduced costs, and a more efficient model for shippers looking to avoid the high costs of full truckload shipments. And while LTL has its drawbacks – slower delivery times, stricter packaging requirements, and increased handling of cargo – it can provide a welcome alternative to those looking for a way to work around some of the obstacles that have impacted the shipping industry due to COVID-19.

The pandemic has reshaped a number of aspects of the shipping industry. An increase in e-commerce has driven up demand for trailer space and faster transit times, labor and equipment shortages have plagued carriers, and capacity issues and new safety protocols have slowed shipping lanes and created bottlenecks in traditionally efficient LTL markets. To adapt to these recent changes, it is important for shippers to use best practices to ensure their LTL freight gets where it needs to go on time. Here are a few tips for shipping LTL during (and after) the pandemic.

 

Diversify Your Carrier Network 

As capacity restrictions continue to be an issue in the volatile LTL market, shippers need to be willing to explore all carrier options to maintain efficiency. To increase efficiency, carriers have begun to prioritize shipments based on network optimization and yield management strategies, and shippers need to do the same. As carriers shift towards accepting shipments that will drive the highest profits and service based on commodities, origins, destinations, and shipping lanes, shippers must be willing to expand their carrier networks in order to find the available capacity for their shipments.

Working with a 3PL like Koho can help shippers find additional capacity options for their shipments. The shipping experts at Koho can also work with shippers to establish multi-carrier networks that align shippers’ needs with carrier priorities.

 

Schedule Ahead 

Creating and optimizing a pickup schedule that accommodates carriers is a great way to guarantee capacity for your shipments. Because yield and maximizing capacity are carrier priorities in the current market, carriers are looking for ways to make multiple pickups and drop-offs in a single day, so shippers should look for ways to make pickups predictable and painless. This means scheduling shipments as far in advance as possible to allow carriers to optimize their scheduling. It also means organizing pickups to lower wait times for drivers and enable carriers to make multiple pickups at once rather than a string of them throughout the week.

 

Provide Accurate Shipment Details 

The high volume of LTL freight demand has made scheduling especially tight, and anything shippers can do to improve efficiency is paramount. A big part of that efficiency is avoiding documentation errors and inaccurate freight information.

LTL shippers must provide accurate details regarding a shipment’s characteristics upfront when obtaining a quote to avoid reclassification, reweighs, or dimensional issues that may result in a missed pickup or terminal delay. In addition, it is crucial that shippers also provide any relevant information about pickup and delivery locations, special instructions, or additional equipment necessary to load or unload the cargo. For example, if a pickup location is remote or the shipment requires a liftgate to load, and it is not indicated on the paperwork, it can result in delays or rebill charges, or the carrier may opt to decline a shipment rather than deal with the reduced efficiency.

 

Expect Delays

Unfortunately, many of the issues facing the LTL industry at the moment are unavoidable. Bottlenecks, capacity issues, and labor shortages caused by the pandemic are problems that are affecting the shipping industry across the board and will require time and innovation to solve. In the meantime, managing expectations is essential.

Shippers should expect problems to arise and not everything going exactly to plan all the time. The best way to mitigate delays is to anticipate and communicate them clearly. We recommend that shippers add at least one day of variability to quoted transit times, sometimes more, depending on which freight lanes are being impacted most significantly at the time.

It is also important to communicate potential delays and extended transit times to customers so that expectations can be managed throughout the process and adjustments can be made at all levels. 

Work with a 3PL to Anticipate Market Conditions

Understanding how your LTL freight fits into the current issues facing the LTL market is challenging, as circumstances can change frequently, and it can be difficult to keep up. Collaborating with a third-party logistics provider like Koho gives you an informational advantage when trying to find the best way to ship your goods.

A trusted 3PL like Koho can offer the technology, expertise, communication, and data necessary to overcome shifting obstacles and provide relevant solutions. Partnering with Koho can help your business create a more innovative strategy to improve your LTL shipping performance and weather the current shipping climate without missing a beat.

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