Tag Archives: freight shipping

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.

Let the Experts Optimize Your LTL Contact Us Now

Understanding Standard Pallet and Truck Dimensions in Freight Shipping

pallet and truck dimensionsUnderstanding the standard pallet and truck dimensions, namely trucks and vans, can make it easier when a customer has to select a transportation option to best fit their needs.

But with so many different options out there, it can get a little confusing from time to time. A better understanding of truck and pallet dimensions will better help you decide which service is right for you.

What are the types of trucks?

Dry Vans

Dry Van shipments are the most common form of freight transportation out there. Dry Vans typically move non-perishable food items, textiles and retail clothing, as well as various manufactured paper and plastic products.


Flatbed Trucking has been a staple of PLS Logistics since the early ’90s. Typically used for transporting large amounts of industrial or oversized goods like sheet metal, construction equipment, and lumber, flatbed trucks come in several varieties, dependent on your needs.

Refrigerated (Reefers)

More commonly referred to as a reefer, refrigerated or climate-controlled shipping is the go-to option for the transportation of perishable food items like produce, meats, and dairy. Similar in appearance to standard dry vans, climate-controlled vans vary in capacity and size depending on the level of insulation and type of lining.

Need more info on Trailers? Check out our Trailer Equipment Guide. In it, you’ll find:

Why are pallets important? And how many pallets fit on a truck?

Truck capacity is usually determined by the number of pallets a truck can fit at once. Made up of wooden supports and three or four “stringers” or cross beams, shipping material by the pallet makes them easier to load and transport. A standard truck can handle around 40-45 pallets.

The two most common pallet sizes are:

  • 40 x 48
  • 42 x 42”

By breaking down large shipments into a standardized unit like a 40 x 48” pallet, it is much easier to keep tabs on large shipments all over the country.