Tag Archives: freight shipping

How a 3PL Can Help You Get Lower Freight Rates

If you are frequently shipping freight, there’s a good chance know what third party-logistics companies do. In fact, 3PL’s can help your business in many ways, and one of those ways is getting lower freight rates for you.

Why is outsourcing so popular?

Outsourcing logistics to a 3PL provider has become more common among many companies, regardless of their size and expertise. Many businesses have chosen to outsource their logistics because of the growing importance of customer experience. People want faster shipping and cheaper delivery costs.

Inventory, warehousing, and logistics costs are constantly rising. Managing logistics becomes costly and complicated for companies to do themselves, so businesses are seeking efficient solutions to save costs on transportation. One of the best ways to cut transportation costs is getting low freight rates on a regular basis. Outsourcing transportation to a 3PL can help companies in many ways and help get you the best rates for your freight.

How can a 3PL get you better freight rates?

An experienced third-party logistics provider has a wide network of carriers and freight brokers with reliable and trusted relationships. This lets a 3PL negotiate exclusive rates for your company. The negotiating process is usually held through a freight broker, who arranges the final shipping cost for a customer.

What are other ways a 3PL can help save transportation costs?

Apart from better freight rates, here are some other benefits of partnering with a 3PL:

Available carrier capacity

One of the primary advantages of third-party logistics providers is that they let you access a wide range of carrier capacity. Regardless of your freight type and volume, an experienced 3PL will always provide you with the required equipment. You don’t have to interact with multiple people and can instead have a single point of contact for anything.

Supply chain management

Usually, a 3PL provides you with a dedicated person or team of experts to manage your company. Apart from freight brokerage, you can also use a 3PL for managing your supply chain. Professional analysts can define gaps in your current supply chain and can help you outline a new strategy. This eliminates waste operations, and, therefore, reduces unnecessary costs.

Custom approach

While you focus on your business, a 3PL should focus on seeking efficient solutions for you. An experienced logistics provider will learn your businesses characteristics and needs so that they can provide you with useful solutions (for example, freight consolidation or shifting to multimodal transportation). Developing a custom approach to your company helps 3PL’s reduce your transportation costs.

Final thoughts

Collaborating with a 3PL can significantly reduce overall transportation spend of your company through competitive freight rates, supply chain management, carrier capacity, and experience in the logistics industry.

Looking for freight quotes? Get one here!

choose a freight shipping company

How To Choose a Freight Company That’s Right For You

The global economy and the entire modern world heavily relies on freight shipping on a daily basis. Everything we eat, wear, use, and work with gets to us through cargo shipping services. A spike in e-commerce growth demands efficient and reliable freight shipping, and it is important to choose a freight shipping company that matches your needs.

Companies all over the world need their products and supplies moved every single day. Just in the U.S. alone, there are almost 6 trillion ton-miles of freight moved annually. There are various options for how businesses manage their transportation. Some of them have in-built logistics departments and run transportation on their own. However, this can be costly, complicated, and lack efficiency. That’s why more and more companies outsource their logistics operations or even their entire supply chain to freight shipping companies. choose a freight shipping company

Once you’ve decided to use professional services for your business transportation needs, the next step is to choose a freight shipping company. Obviously, you want the provider to be experienced, skilled, and match your needs at a fair price. The shipping provider plays a large role in your supply chain, so before setting a partnership with any company, try to research the market and consider a few important traits.

How to choose a freight shipping company?

Industry Experience

Transportation and logistics are complicated industries, saturated with severe competition. If a company has survived on the market and established itself, there is a good chance they are trustworthy and reliable. Pay attention to how many years of experience a logistics provider has. Additionally, look at their expertise field and specialization. The company’s specialty could be what you’ve been searching for!

Freight Services

Essentially, services are what you will need from the freight shipping company in the first place. Clearly define which services you are looking for. Once you’ve determined your needs, look at the shipping providers with expertise in a certain field and service. What companies do they work with? How exactly can they help you? How do they distinguish themselves from competitors? Keep in mind all of these questions during your research.

Carrier Network

It doesn’t matter if you ship cross-country or globally, you want skilled carriers and access to capacity. A wide network of reputable carriers is definitely a ‘must-have’ in a good freight shipping company. Depending on the provider’s primary field, the ratio of carriers can vary. If you ship oversized loads, you would probably benefit from a broad network of flatbed carriers.

Customer Service

Ultimately, when you’ve decided with a few viable options, it’s time to do the final check: customer service. A good company cares about prospects and customers and will help you with your questions. In order to define whether the chosen provider will deliver you a positive customer experience, look at its communication. Whether you’re asking for a freight quote or general consultancy, the reliable shipping company will help you and respond on-time.

Bottom Line

To sum it up, choosing a freight shipping company is an important decision. Therefore, you need to do decent research before making a final choice. Knowing exactly what you need and following the above tips will help you pick a reliable logistics partner.

Freight Shipping with PLS

PLS Logistics Services is one of the country’s leading logistics management services providers. We provide outsourced logistics solutions as well as freight brokerage services. PLS’ transportation network has more than 150,000 trucks represented by 45,000 active carrier partners.

Contact us now with any questions you have!

air freight shipping

Ins and Outs of Air Freight Shipping

The pace of the modern world makes us do everything faster. In the world of freight shipping, the pace is doubled. The higher delivery speed expectations are, the more companies strive to provide next-day shipping. People rely on their shipments arrival all over the globe, and everybody wants their items as soon as possible. One of the most realistic and safe ways to achieve such a quick transit time is air freight shipping.

What are the types of air freight shipping? air freight shipping

Almost everything reaches the destination with a plane: documents, parcels, animals, cars, and more. Air freight moves large volumes of heavy cargo every day. In 2018, commercial airlines carried just under 64 million metric tons of freight worldwide. Depending on the freight type, there are different types of air freight shipping:

  • Air parcel (moved on passenger lines). Shipping cargo on passenger planes is a common practice among airline companies. In most cases, commercial planes handle small shipments and parcels. An average passenger plane can move a freight volume of 2 semi-trailer trucks, apart from the passengers on the board.
  • Dedicated air cargo planes. A cargo aircraft is the most popular way to ship freight across the sky. These planes are constructed to maximize space for freight handling and come in different sizes. The largest cargo airplane can move up to 26,000 cubic feet of large, heavy, and even hazardous freight.
  • Air charter for urgent shipments. When using charter aircraft, you’re confident your freight meets the required deadline and has no transit stops. It’s dedicated just for your needs and essentially is much more expensive than other options. Charters are mainly used for mining and energy industries, movie production, pharmaceutical items, and other urgent shipments.

How does the air freight work?

Depending on your air freight carrier, there can be different ways of arranging air shipping. However, the general scheme looks like this:

  1. Choosing a shipping provider.
  2. Air company or a third party logistics provider registers your shipments and arranges freight pick-up from the facility or warehouse.
  3. Your freight is loaded and taken to the airline, and then loaded on the plane.
  4. After it arrives at the destination, another carrier picks up your freight from the airline and takes it to the final destination.

What are ins and outs of air shipping?

As one of the most commonly used shipping modes, air shipping has many benefits as well as downfalls.

Shipping speed is definitely the most compelling advantage of air shipping. If you need your freight to arrive the next day to another part of the globe, it only can be achieved through air freight shipping. Special relevance of air shipping comes for retail companies that ship consumer packaged goods, fashion, and apparel, medical supplies and equipment, etc. Apart from exclusive delivery speed, air shipping offers shipment safety, large service areas, and fewer disruptions.

On the contrary, the price of air shipping is a huge concern when choosing this option for freight transportation. Essentially, if you want extremely fast and safe delivery, you have to pay for the services accordingly. Parcel shipping on passenger planes is the cheapest option among other aircraft freight moving options, while charter is the most expensive.

Ultimately, air freight shipping is a very beneficial shipping option, if your budget isn’t tight. It suggests secure, fast delivery and covers a wide range of services.

Need a 3PL help? We can help! Contact us now with any questions you have!

Intermodal vs. Multimodal Freight

It is important to know the difference between intermodal shipping and multimodal shipping to make sure that you are using the best shipping method for your shipment. Many people often confuse intermodal and multimodal shipping. Deciding when to use intermodal or multimodal transport depends on several factors, such as the total cost difference, time savings, and if the shipper wants multiple independent contacts.

Today, we will be learning the difference between intermodal and multimodal freight and when it is best to use each type of transport. 

Intermodal Shipping

Intermodal freight is defined as the transport of freight in a container or vehicle without handling the freight when changing modes. The movement of the cargo from origin to destination is completed by several modes of transport. In intermodal shipping, every mode has a different transport carrier responsible for the shipment. The shipper will have several contracts, one with each transport carrier to handle their portion of the shipment. The different transportation modes of intermodal shipping can include rail, ship and truck. Using intermodal transport helps improve security, reduces damage and loss, and allows freight to be transported faster.

Multimodal Shippingintermodal4

Multimodal is the combination of different types of transport to move a shipment. This can include trucks, trains, ships, airplanes, etc. Even though the shipment is broken up into different modes of transport, it still falls under a single contract/bill of lading. Companies that choose multimodal shipping can handle all shipping delays and interactions through one provider and ease the stress of communicating between different contacts. Some of the main advantages of multimodal transport are efficiency in delivery time and proficient shipment tracking.

There are many different variables to take into consideration when deciding which type of transport is best for you and your shipment. Many people lean towards multimodal because it can provide shippers with a more timely, cost saving shipping resource. Multimodal freight can also be easier to manage since it is through a single contract, unlike intermodal that is covered by various contracts and modes of transport. Intermodal shipping can provide shippers with lower costs and more predictable pricing.

Both intermodal and multimodal transport can help shippers optimize lead times, reduce inventory costs and improve environmental sustainability. Make sure to weight the options before deciding which would be best for your company and/or shipment. PLS Logistics has access to various multimodal and intermodal freight modes to help businesses optimize their transportation. Get a quote with PLS today!

 

Our Truckload Shipping Options

Increase Lead Times, Decrease Costs

The concept of lead time when booking loads is a commonly overlooked factor when delivering freight efficiently and economically. You may have heard your logistics partner say that providing more notice days or lead time for a shipment could help lower costs…

But how is this possible?iStock-698740028

To put it simply, the more in advance a third-party logistics provider (3PL) books a load, the more time and control they have over the following:

  • Negotiating pricing
  • Finding savings or efficiency improvements
  • Securing top providers
  • Scheduling ideal delivery times

Whereas on the other hand, when working to book a truck for next-day delivery, capacity is tighter, prices are usually higher and fewer delivery options are available.

In addition to these basic principles, more time between when an order is scheduled and when its picked up allows your logistics provider to play more of a consultative role. Instead of immediately responding to a request, they can analyze the potential for more cost savings and efficiencies. This could include suggestions to switch from truck to rail, try new order consolidation techniques and/or switch up network configuration.

Benefits of Providing More Shipment Lead Time

  • Lower rates
  • More capacity
  • Preferred carrier availability
  • Access to ideal delivery appointment times
  • Higher service levels
  • Better on-time performance
  • Fewer surprises
  • More control over expenditures
  • Possible identification of new savings and efficiencies

To sum it up…

Advanced scheduling is a step in the right direction towards greater visibility, as well as logistics managers having the ability to regulate time in their operations more precisely, which in turn can generate more capacity. That type of visibility goes well beyond the technology used to track and trace pallets and trucks today.

 

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10 Tips for Proper Freight Palletizing

The knowledge of how to properly palletize is very important in order to prevent many accidents that happen all the time in warehouses. This knowledge will help you save a ton of time and money dealing will freight damage, as well as frustration over these damaged goods.

To help ensure that you don’t have to deal with the nightmare of freight damage, we will cover 10 essential tips to palletize your boxes properly.

1. Use a Slip Sheet

A slip sheet is a plastic sheet that is used to protect cargo on the bottom of the pallet. Using slip sheets can help avoid compression strength deprivation. For example, when wooden pallets are used, there is no support of the boxes’ bottom because there are spaces of up to 4 inches in between decks.

palletize

2. Stabilize Boxes

It’s a simple physics law: Place the heaviest boxes on the bottom of the pallet (the top layer should be full for steadiness)., but if there are not enough boxes to fully stack a pallet, place the last few along the outside edge.

3. Don’t Neglect Wide Gaps

Some wooden pallets have wide gaps between boards (around 4 inches). When you bridge this gap with a box, you create an overhang situation which reduces a box’s compression resistance potential.

4. Stack in Columns

In order to reduce the danger of damage and for greater stability, boxes should be stacked in columns with one box directly over the other. Also, stick items as close to each other as possible. Column stacks prove to be the best way to make pallets stable and safe for shipment.

5. Don’t Interlock Boxes

Interlocking can reduce strength by 50 percent and lead to freight damage. Since two-third of potential compression strength is in vertical edges and corners, it is important to stack boxes edge-to-edge and corner-to-corner.

6. Strap for Extra Safety

Use metal strapping or plastic wrap to secure individual pieces over 150 pounds to the pallet. Keep banding and straps close to the load to minimize damage.

7. Use Stretch Wrap

Putting boxes into columns can make the load sensitive to shifting. The best solution to this problem is to use stretch wrap. Stretch wrap can be applied manually or with the help from a wrap machine.

8. Avoid Stacking in Pyramids

Pyramid-shaped loads may appear to be stable, but it is a less secure and less steady form of palletizing. The top boxes in a pyramid have a high risk of damage.

9. Don’t Create Overhang

Overhang happens when boxes are hanging over the edge of the pallet. When this happens, two edges of the box that are not hanging get all the work for load support. Overhanging exposes freight to damage and decreases a pallet’s strength. Pallet overhang can reduce top to bottom compression up to 30 percent.

10. Make Sure to Use Labels

To palletize properly, print a visual reminder of proper pallet patterns and place it on the container or provide it to the staff. Also, don’t forget to label all shipment pallets with an address and phone number.

Make sure to keep these tips in mind when palletizing your boxes to avoid freight damage!

 

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Why Are Rates Skyrocketing?

Anyone connected with transportation is well aware of the latest market trends and conditions. We have been witnessing a steady increase in truckload rates lately. Experts predict this is only the beginning and spot market rates will keep climbing in the foreseeable future. Capacity is tighter than ever and its load to truck ratio in September is breaking the records.

iStock-841802950.jpgThis is not caused by a single factor – a complex of things is contributing to the tightening capacity and continuous rate increases. Let’s look at a few major reasons:

Aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma

Two devastating hurricanes hit the US within a very short period of time leaving destruction and severe weather conditions behind as they passed. This had a major impact on the truckload capacity. Recovery required emergency supplied and aid which shifted the capacity to the affected areas, leaving other parts of the country with much lighter coverage.

Driver shortage

This is a problem which did not show up as suddenly as hurricanes. It has been happening for some time now; it has been actively discussed – and it is not likely to stop anytime soon. Qualified drivers are not easy to come by now, and the industry is definitely feeling the pain caused by driver shortage in the form of continuously tightening capacity.

ELD

Probably the most controversial and widely discussed topic in the transportation industry in 2017. The mandate designed to improve safety on the roads and eliminate paperwork component has not been met with excitement by many carriers. The cost and complexity of implementation and achieving compliance caused major pushback from carriers. There have been multiple attempts to stall the process and extend the implementation period for two more years.

As of right now, it seems like the regulation will be fully in effect in December. As a result, we will see a decrease in capacity as some carriers will not be ready by December, some will violate it and face consequences and so on.

All of these factors directly affect truckload capacity and logically, boost the rates. Forecasts suggest that shippers brace themselves for even higher rates in the coming 2018.

Read more: ELD Mandate: What you need to know, Can Shippers Help Increase Truck Capacity?, Secure Capacity with these 3 tips

Struggling with capacity for your loads? We can help thanks to our solid and steady carrier base.

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Same-Day Delivery: 3 Logistics Questions Shippers Need to Answer

Who is the Same-Day Delivery Consumer?

Consumer expectations are growing. Why? Since companies have tested the same-day delivery option, consumers expect it as the standard. Coldwell Banker says about 53% of US customers are more likely to make an online purchase if they are offered same-day delivery. 

According to a 2016 Deloitte survey, millennial shoppers are willing to pay an average of $5.50 per order to get same-day service, compared with $3.80 for all others. Business Insider defines the same-day delivery demographic as a millennial, urban male. 98% of millennials consider same-day delivery to be fast shipping, but the response rate drops to 88% when it comes to two-day delivery.

By 2045, freight volume will increase by 45%. This puts a lot of pressure on carriers, drivers, logistics professionals, warehouse management, and technology to move goods to the right place and quickly. A Forbes article said FedEx confirmed most of the company’s nearly $5B in increased capital is going to the ground division, driven by the demand of e-commerce customers.

Read: Logistics Challenges of Same-Day Delivery

Is Amazon a 3PL and What Can I Learn from Prime?

Amazon created services and offers that consumers didn’t even know they wanted – and now, they’re the expectation. Amazon offers free same-day delivery on some items to Prime members and also provides one-hour delivery for $7.99 on thousands of products in 29 US cities. 1 in 6 Americans, about 50 million, are Amazon Prime members. Amazon does not release its Prime membership numbers, so independent research was done by Cowen & Co., says SupplyChainBrain. Their latest research found that membership had risen by 23% YoY.

Amazon has definitely disrupted the logistics industry, and many 3PLs consider the company a competitor. 20 out of 25 CEOs surveyed by Supply Chain Quarterly think that Amazon has had a significant effect on supply chain management; mostly because of Amazon’s role in high-speed delivery programs. Respondents noted that Amazon’s delivery programs have impacted traditional logistics processes since their quick fulfillment and delivery process reduce the need for expedited transportation.

FreeShipping.jpgAccording to Business Insider, 4 in 10 US shoppers say they would use same-day delivery if they didn’t have time to go to the store, and 1 in 4 shoppers said they would consider abandoning their online cart if same-day delivery wasn’t an option. PetSmart, Bloomingdales, Deliv, Foot Locker, Instacart, and The Container Store have added their names to the long list of companies now providing same-day delivery to select consumers.

Why Don’t More Companies Add Same-Day Service?

Recent surveys show more companies in all verticals are migrating to the internet and channel boundaries are blurred. Only 9% of North American retailers offer same-day delivery and feel it is working well, while 13% who offer same-day delivery thinks the program needs to be improved. For online
businesses, same-day delivery makes sense and over 50% plan on providing same-day delivery services in the next 3-5 years, according to Bringg.

Logistically, same-day delivery isn’t a current reality for many organizations. But, technology is changing that. With 61% of consumers willing to pay more for same-day delivery, companies can no longer avoid the challenge. But, even with all the customer demand (and satisfaction) with companies offering same-day delivery, almost half (49%) of retailers have no plans to offer same-day delivery soon. Most organizations haven’t set up the supply chain to efficiently meet customer demand – DCs aren’t located in the most optimal locations for at home, same-day delivery promises. Supply chains have traditionally been optimized to feed merchandise into specific brick-and-mortar locations without crossing any channels. So, the first step to getting faster delivery options are to build up warehouse management systems and create an efficient and effective fulfillment and supply chain process.

What to Read Next: What Your Inventory Reveals about Your Reverse Logistics

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Sustainable Freight Shipping

sustainable freight shippingWould you be willing to pay 5% higher prices for products ordered online if they are shipped sustainably?

A recent survey titled “Need for Green or Need for Speed” Survey conducted by the consulting firm West Monroe Partners revealed that 54% of e-commerce consumers are willing to pay the extra money.

The study also revealed that consumers were not aware that sustainable freight shipping options were available to them. This study made me think not only about how I personally have my e-commerce products shipped but on a larger scale, how the businesses that I frequently do business with are doing their part to be more environmentally friendly.

How Does Sustainable Freight Shipping Work?

Large and small trucking companies, rail carriers, logistics companies, commercial manufacturers, retailers, and other federal and state agencies can partner with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in their SmartWay Partnership program. This program is a public-private initiative designed to increase energy efficiency while significantly reducing greenhouse gases and air pollution.

The EPA’s SmartWay Transport Partnership is a government and industry collaboration to voluntarily achieve improved fuel efficiency and reduce environmental impacts from freight transport. Participating companies benchmark their current freight operations; identify technologies and strategies to reduce their carbon emissions, track emissions reductions and project future improvement. SmartWay partners demonstrate to customers, clients, and investors that they are taking responsibility for the emissions associated with goods movement, are committed to corporate social responsibility and sustainable business practices and are reducing their carbon footprint.

PLS and Sustainable Freight Shipping

PLS Logistics Services does our part in contributing to the SmartWay Partnership’s goal of reducing emissions of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and air-polluting particle matter. This goal is accomplished by working directly with our freight carriers to consistently improve their environmental performance.

PLS is committed to helping the SmartWay Transport Partnership achieve this goal. We believe it is our social responsibility to help reduce transportation pollution by initiating conscientious practices with our freight carriers. It is our goal every day to help our customers achieve the most cost and fuel effective methods for moving their products.

There are many ways that consumers and business alike can be more environmentally-friendly and a good start is to work with companies that are part of the SmartWay program.


 

Interesting facts about the Transport Partnership:

  • Over 3,000 partners
  • $16.8 billion dollars in fuel costs saved
  • Save 120.7 million barrels of oil (the equivalent of taking over 10 million cars off the road for an entire year).
  • 51.6 million metric tons of CO2 reductions
  • 738,000 tons of NOx reductions
  • 37,000 tons of PM reductions

(These facts were reported by the SmartWay Highlights document, dated February 2013, and listed on the SmartWay’s website).


 

SmartWay is more than the Transport Partnership described above, it consists of three additional components:

  • SmartWay Technology Program: A testing, verification and designation program to help freight companies identify equipment, technologies, and strategies that save fuel and lower emissions.
  • SmartWay Vehicles: A program that ranks light-duty cars and small trucks and identifies superior environmental performers with the SmartWay logo.
  • SmartWay International Interests: Guidance and resources for countries seeking to develop freight sustainability programs modeled after SmartWay.

 


 

To learn more about SmartWay Partnership Program, visit http://www.epa.gov/smartway/

To read more of the “Need for Green or Need for Speed” survey, visit: http://www.westmonroepartners.com/en/insights/white-papers/need-for-green-survey

Tips for Effective Freight Shipping

tips for freight shipping With the variety of materials being shipped throughout the country every day, you’re bound to run into a problem or two along the way. Knowing how to solve these problems ensures a more efficient shipping process, and more importantly, a healthier bottom line. Here are some tips for freight shipping – commonly asked questions and problems that many shippers and 3PL providers experience on a daily basis.

Tips for Freight Shipping:

Avoiding Adjustments:

Adjustments often happen when freight carriers provide information to the shipper that is not accurate with the actual shipment details.

There is a multitude of different kinds of adjustments, including:

  • Oversize fees – Any shipment that is found to be more than 12 feet in length and not reported as such can mean costly fines to the shipper. Being forthright with the correct freight dimensions early on can help you avoid this fee altogether, and while you may pay a slightly higher rate, it is nothing compared to the fees you will face if caught with an oversized load.
  • Residential fees – A residential fee comes into play anytime the final destination for delivery is not a business. Making sure the final destination is clearly marked on the bill of lading will ensure that you steer clear of this fee.
  • Re-classification – Incorrectly marking the freight class is another careless error that can cost you a lot of money. Make sure you check the NMFC website to make sure your freight class labels are accurate.

Packaging Fragile Items:

It goes without saying, but ensuring that all fragile cargo arrives to its final destination undamaged is of the utmost importance. It’s best to contact the carrier directly for their recommended packing instructions since it may vary from carrier to carrier.

Freight Weight and Dimensions:

If you’re looking for more in-depth information on freight classes and shipping dimensions, read our post titled “What Determines LTL Freight Class.” In it, you’ll find a detailed breakdown of all eighteen U.S. freight classes, as well as the height, weight, and volume limits on these classes.

Oversized Items:

Some loads are too large to fit on a standard shipping pallet. Luckily, many shipping companies and 3PL providers offer customized packages for shipping oversized loads. Look for a provider with experience and high levels of customer satisfaction. This will be a good measurement as to how well they handle shipping oversized freight.

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