Tag Archives: freight shipping

What is Freight Management?

what is freight managementHistorically, the connotation of freight management was changed and reshaped many times. In general, it refers to all the processes that cover preparing, shipping, storing and receiving freight. But in a more specific meaning, freight management is the service provided by freight forwarders or third-party logistics companies. It suggests matching loads to freight carriers, route planning, and the optimization of the transportation process.

Why do you need freight management?

Whether you are a large enterprise or a small business, cargo management can be complex. Even if you know the exact obstacles in your way, it may be challenging to put the overall picture together. Additionally, freight shipping involves numerous processes. To manage all of them efficiently, you need to pay attention to details and focus on everything simultaneously.

Attempting to handle all of this on your own won’t end well for your business productivity. More companies now realize the complexity and importance of logistics and transportation management and outsource it to external parties. Apart from peace of mind, delegating such a large branch of business can result in substantial cost savings and a much better operational efficiency.

How does freight management work?

If you consider outsourcing freight management, you would probably wonder: how does this process work? First, you need to understand freight forwarding and freight brokerage.

These are specific departments in the logistics company that are responsible for finding a carrier that can and wants to move your load. This is one of the key parts of the load management process because brokers can find the appropriate vehicles for your specific needs. They also negotiate freight rates for you, and these rates are lower than you would find on your own.

Third party companies have a significant advantage over in-house logistics departments, due to their relationships with carriers. Combined with industry expertise, third parties can provide efficient management and drive cost savings.

What does good cargo management include?

Apart from freight forwarding, cargo management actually includes many different aspects. If you are looking for a freight management company, here are the main things it should provide to you:

  • Load matching
  • Route optimization
  • Rate negotiation
  • Freight accounting
  • Freight clam management

Ultimately, establishing a reliable partnership with an experienced cargo management company will benefit you in the long run. Learn more about our Outsourced Transportation and Freight Brokerage services!

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.

Why working with a good freight shipping company is important?

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 the arrival of their shipment 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. Airfreight 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 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 the 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 to 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 weigh 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!

 

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How Shipping Lead Time Impacts Freight Rates

What is a lead time in shipping?

The lead time in shipping is the time gap between the initiation of the order to the complete execution. For example, it is time an object travels from the primary supplier to the final receiver. The concept of lead time when booking loads is a commonly overlooked factor when delivering freight efficiently and economically.

Why shipping lead time is important?

Providing more notice days or lead time for a shipment could help lower costs. Extending shipping lead time can be beneficial in many ways, including:

  • 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

The role of shipping lead time in your supply chain
lead time

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 it’s 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.

Final thoughts 

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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7 Steps to Reduce Freight Cost

Freight rates and carrier discounts are not the only factors that shape freight costs – there are more components shippers should consider. Reducing freight costs starts with understanding how cargo is moved through a particular supply chain. By getting all parts working efficiently, shippers can mitigate and manage freight cost.

Step 1. Get a Carrier Discount

It is always worth asking about additional discounts from the carrier when processing a freight shipment. Large businesses and frequent freight shippers get discounted prices more easily while finding competitive rates is more challenging for small shippers. When negotiating and comparing discounts from carriers, consider base rates. A small discount from a lower-rate carrier could be more beneficial than a big discount from the higher-rate carrier.

freight cost

Step 2. It’s All about Mode

Choosing the appropriate shipping mode can be tricky; each has its own pricing, fees, and liability protection. First, shippers should consider freight classifications: weight, package density, shipment destination, and specific transportation services. Sometimes, it’s more effective to break down a truckload shipment into an LTL shipment. The secret here is to think long-term and to get the best transport available.

Step 3. Consolidate Freight

Consolidating shipments gives smaller-order shippers the chance to minimize costs with reduced time and handling. Shippers should consider combining their freight with other shipments when possible or trying to send fewer, larger shipments in the first place. Fewer shipments also mean less fuel burned, which is great for the environment, and many shipping and trucking companies are seeing the benefits of going ‘green’. Consolidation can be logistically confusing, but shipment consolidation is not a new idea – it has been practiced for 50 years already and is proved to be a tried-and-true method.

Step 4. No One Likes Additional Charges

The most common accessorial fees are residential adjustments, weight adjustments, and additional handling accessorials. When a shipper understands how and why these fees apply, it’s more likely to mitigate these costs. A fuel surcharge calculation could also be discouraging, as it varies greatly, but good news: a fuel surcharge is negotiable – so there is a chance the carrier will provide a discount.

Step 5. What’s the Address, Again?

In the age of address-verification software and ERP, shipping to the wrong address is a common mistake that is paid off with man-hours and additional costs. One of the reasons for this is offensively simple – shippers forget to correct wrong addresses after it has been reported to them. A solution to manual data entry is to automate the process with transportation technology integrated with ERP systems.

Step 6. Dimensional Weight

The largest parcel carriers and LTL companies are turning to dimensional weight pricing systems. For shippers, proper packaging has never been as important as it is now.  If your package is outside stated parameters of weight, height, and width, it will increase in rate by double-digit percentages. If you cannot shrink the standard packaging, the best options are to add more weight to each parcel or create a new, efficient package.

Step 7. Make an Outstanding RFP

Take a second and imagine how carriers will react to your shipper profile and RFP. Is there enough information about your requirements? Is all data relevant? Spend time to help carriers understand what kind of freight you want to ship and what the details of hauling are. A consistent, outstanding RFP will help create a cost-effective and efficient supply chain.

Third-party logistics companies offer knowledge in explaining freight cost and reducing additional costs.  They can also provide a full analysis of the company’s shipping history and current expenses to help lessen future charges. With a lack of proper knowledge, tools or expert help on transportation management software, a shipper could leave money on the table. Don’t hesitate to ask for qualified help that will reduce freight cost – contact the experts at PLS Logistics today.

Check out this infographic: Should Fuel Surcharges Cost Me this Much?