Shipping “less that truckload,” or a relatively small shipment, isn’t out of the ordinary for many companies. It’s often a cost-effective alternative to waiting to fill a trailer. After all, you’re only paying for the space you use for your freight. It’s also a means for controlling inventory. Why take up valuable space that could otherwise be used for production, right?
Pitfalls of LTL Shipping
Shipping LTL isn’t without its issues, some of which shippers fail to consider before going this route. Before diving into LTL shipping, make sure that it is the best option. Recently, the defining line between LTL shipping and parcel shipping has grown thinner and thinner. Depending on the shipments you company does, parcel shipping may be a better option for you. However, if you plan on moving your freight via LTL, these are the most common pitfalls of LTL shipping you may encounter:
Finding a Carrier
Not all shipping companies handle LTL freight, so it often takes extra time to locate a carrier even to transport your relatively small shipment. Don’t leave your search until the last minute – one of the many pitfalls of LTL shipping. If your company regularly ships LTL freight, compile a list of those carriers that handle this type of shipment.
Identifying the Best Freight Rates
A number of factors go into LTL shipping rates, such as destination, class, weight, and any additional services. Obviously, you’ll want to go with the shipping company that offers the best rates for the best service. Remember that list we were talking about? It can come in handy at this time — that and a transportation management system.
Knowing the Freight Class
Freight class is another problem LTL shippers often run into, and the class comes down to weight, length and height, density, ease of handling, value and liability, breakability, and spoilage. If you don’t know these factors, you won’t likely get an accurate rate for your shipment and run the risk of reclass adjustment, which could lead to additional fees.
Accounting for Transit Time
For some shipping companies, LTL freight will rank lower in priority than other shipments. If, for example, the company is in a “capacity crunch,” where container space is limited, freight may have to wait for full truckload. As a result, your shipment may take longer to reach its destination.
Skipping the Insurance
No one can predict what’ll happen once a shipment leaves the warehouse. Natural disasters, car accidents, and theft can all do thousands of dollars of damage to your goods. Though shipping companies do offer a variety of policies for LTL freight, pay close attention to the limit of liability on that shipment. You may need to take out extra coverage in case something goes wrong.
A little due diligence on the front end can often help you avoid any one of these pitfalls of LTL, while still allowing you to take full advantage of its benefits. If you’d like to learn more about “less than truckload” shipping options, the team at InterlogUSA is more than willing to answer your questions.