Tag Archives: LTL

LTL Freight Shipping Trends in 2019 and Beyond

With the growth of small businesses and e-commerce development, the number of smaller shipments being transported around the world has drastically increased. Along with parcel shipments, less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping is changing and evolving and being influenced by the latest e-commerce trends, fuel rates, online shipping services and more.

If you are shipping LTL freight, it is better to be in the stream of industry trends and tendencies instead of falling behind. We have summed up all the main forecasts of how LTL freight shipping will look in the upcoming years:

Increased demand

One of the most evident trends expected in the LTL industry is increased demand caused by commerce growth. However, the consequences of this evolving are contradictory. The rising demand for LTL freight will cause new shipping companies to enter the market. Which could potentially make rates jump. We will likely see a reshaping of less-than-truckload shipments due to new developments and requirements for the new services that may appear.

Technology impact

Another innovation that is already reshaping LTL is new technology. This includes automated transportation management systems, electronic logging devices (ELD), mobile apps and optimized mobile websites, which are believed to drastically change load posting, booking and quoting in the coming year. All of these tech tools will be driven towards freight control, visibility, tracking, and a better user experience.

Better workforce opportunities

Despite the fact that LTL rates will most likely continue to skyrocket, the situation will still be more satisfactory than full truckload due to better opportunities to hire young talents. Less-than-truckload services offer more flexibility and a wider range of positions compared to full-time trucking positions.

Partner with a reliable 3PL

It is hard to keep track of all of the changes in such a dynamic industry as LTL shipping. Setting a partnership with a reputable third-party logistics provider will take the hassle out of your shipping, and will help effectively manage your freight.

If you need any help with your LTL freight shipping, contact us with any you have!

What Is Partial Shipping and Is It Right For You?

The freight industry is full of variety and diversity, and there are plenty of transportation modes. You probably already know and use full truckload and less-than-truckload shipping. However, there is one more option in between the FTL and LTL – partial truckload.

What is partial truckload?

Partial truckload is a large volume of LTL freight. The cargo doesn’t fill up the entire trailer, but takes up a significant part of it. Consequently, there is a silver lining between FTL and LTL. Partial truckload is rarely used and underestimated, although many shippers can benefit from switching to it.

 

When should you use partial truckload shipping?

To fully leverage the benefits of this shipping mode, it’s better to figure out whether it’s suitable for your shipping needs. Partial truckload can save you costs and time, and you can use it when:

  • Your freight is over 7,000 pounds or takes more than 7 pallets. Cargo this size will most likely fit into a perfect option for partial shipment. Typically, partial truckload capacity varies from 7 to 18 pallets.
  • Low-density shipments. If your freight requires a lot of space yet is not dense, partial shipping is a viable option.
  • Neither FTL nor LTL is suitable for you.

What are the benefits of partial truckload shipping?

Many shippers don’t understand the difference between partial shipping and LTL, but there are many benefits when shipping with partial truckload:

  • No freight class required. One of the most significant features that makes partial truckload different is no freight classification. This can significantly reduce the overall shipping cost since you won’t overpay for NMFC charges.
  • Less handling. Compared to FTL, partial loads are rarely stopped. Consistent lane eliminates handling and mitigates chances of freight damage.
  • Cost-efficiency. Same as LTL, you will pay only for space your freight takes in the truck.

After all, switching to partial shipping from your current transportation mode can be a smart decision that will drive efficiency to your supply chain. Here at PLS Logistics, we have capabilities and expertise to optimize your shipping and provide customized solutions for your business needs.

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What Is Expedited Shipping?

Today’s society consists of living in a world full of many unpredictable circumstances. Logistics usually requires strict delivery times and deadlines with close attention to detail, and people may often not know there is a faster shipping option available. If you have an urgent, unplanned shipment that has to be delivered as soon as possible, expedited shipping can be a great solution for you and/or your company.

What is expedited shipping?expedited shipping

Expedited shipping is when freight is delivered faster than regular transit times. The main difference between standard and expedited is much shorter transportation times and fewer touch points during transit. Naturally, expedited freight may cost more than a regular shipment, as it is considered a special service.

How is expedited freight transported?

Usually, companies provide a separate truck with two drivers switching shifts. It’s often called a “dedicated” truck, as it is devoted to your LTL shipment and doesn’t make frequent stops while in transit. The “dedicated” truck goes straight from the pickup point to delivery destination. A solid route not only makes shipments much faster but will also assure freight safety. The fewer touch points there are during transit, the fewer are chances your freight will be damaged or stolen.

In what cases should you use an expedited shipping option?

Expedited is a perfect solution for urgent and last minute situations. Whenever the deadline is tightening or there is an unpredictable situation that takes place affecting your shipment, picking the urgent shipping option can be a wise decision. For example, there is equipment damage at the manufacturing or mining site, and the new assets need to be delivered as soon as possible, or medical supplies are required for a specific location quickly. All of these cases need time-sensitive delivery and demand a faster transit than regular shipments.

Depending on the company and your needs, expedited transit times differ. Generally, the delivery takes 2-3 days. Third-party logistics providers can help plan and manage expedited LTL freight shipping. Here at PLS Logistics Services, we can handle your freight regardless of its size and distance. Our experienced freight brokers will provide professional help so you can be sure that shipment arrives safe and on-time.

Read about our expedited shipping services or get your quote now! 

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  • Why consistent delivery is the primary element in gaining customer satisfaction
  • How to plan for expedited shipping instead of using it as a rushed solution
  • How to reduce expedited shipping costs
  • The value of JIT inventory
  • Why expedited transportation is an effective shipping strategy

Basic Guide to LTL Freight Class

While LTL shipping is pretty straight-forward, freight class may seem quite confusing for many. At the same time, knowing the right class of your freight is essential for shipping LTL. When shippers first come across having to move an LTL load, determining and understanding freight class may be quite a challenge.

In today ’s, we want to talk about some basics of freight classification and answer the most common questions: What is it? How does it work? Why is it important to know your freight class? How do you find the correct class for your freight?

What is it?

Freight classification was introduced by NMFTA (National Motor Freight Traffic Association) to categorize freight based on a number of characteristics and standardize pricing. All commodities are grouped in 18 classes, ranging from Class 50 to Class 500. The classification is cataloged in the NMFC (National Motor Freight Classification) tariff, and a unique NMFC number is assigned to each item.

How does it work?ltl freight class

A hundred-pound load of brick will probably be smaller and easier to handle than a hundred-pound load of ping-pong balls, right? The classification is fairly comprehensive and is based on four characteristics: density, freight stowability, ease of handling and liability. Each commodity is evaluated according to these factors and cataloged under a specific NMFC number and class. The densest and “shipping-friendly” loads will fall under Class 50, which will also be the cheapest. The least dense and “inconvenient” loads will be classified as Class 500, which will be the most expensive.

Why is it important to know your freight class?

As mentioned above, freight class directly affects the pricing. Knowing the accurate class of your freight will ensure that you know the correct shipping price upfront and avoid carrier re-class and up charges. The best way to avoid unpleasant surprises on the invoice is not only to know the correct class but the accurate NMFC number for your freight as well. The NMFC number should be on the BOL along with the clear freight description.

How do you find the correct class for your freight?

Finding the correct item and determining freight class may be a little confusing at times. If you are not yet a pro, you can reach out to your 3PL representative. They have expertise and access to the NMFC database and will be able to help you determine the class. Classifying LTL freight may be tricky, so make sure to provide extensive and accurate freight description, including weight, dimensions, packaging, and value to your 3PL representative.

Need help figuring out the correct class for your LTL freight? We can help!

 

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4 Tips to Help You Handle Your High-Value Shipments

When you need to move a smaller high-value shipment, you undoubtedly consider shipping it LTL. This is definitely the most efficient way, but what about the classic LTL risks? The freight will be handled and transferred multiple times between origin and destination increasing the risk of loss and damage.

Let’s take a look at a few tips which might help you eliminate these risks and ensure your high-value shipment is delivered on time and ‘in one piece’.

Using Expedited Time Critical Service iStock-621247676.jpg

Usually, time-sensitive LTL service not only offers a quicker service but provides better visibility and gives you an opportunity to have more control over your shipment. You may combine it with Guaranteed service as well.

This will give you an opportunity to have a more specific pick-up/delivery time. These services will not be free but will give you peace of mind knowing your high-value shipment is being shipped with premium treatment.

Selecting a Quality Carrier

The cheapest option is not always the best option. Carriers with significantly lower rates and reasonable transit times are usually notorious for their service levels. Although you might have no problem taking a little risk with your other shipments to save money – it might not be the best idea for a high-value shipment.

Choose a reliable carrier that will take proper care of your shipment, pick up and deliver on time and provide clear visibility in transit. Always make sure your shipment will go direct, without being transferred to partner carriers as it will decrease the visibility and increase the risks.

Shorter Transit Times

Usually, shorter transit times indicate that your shipment will be transferred around less often. This is exactly what we need for our high-value shipments – the absolute minimum of transfers and terminals.

Choose a quality carrier with the shorter transit times to ensure the safety of your shipment. As already mentioned above, consider using Time-Critical and Guaranteed options to have it delivered as soon as possible.

Proper Insurance Coverage

Think ahead and always plan for the worst-case scenario. Even if you have done everything to ensure your shipment gets to the destination on time and in a perfect condition – you can never be 100% sure! Don’t leave yourself exposed to the unexpected and avoid financial loss should anything go wrong.

Consult your 3PL representative and find out whether the liability provided by the carrier is enough, or the purchase of additional insurance is required. It will never hurt to ensure your freight is fully covered and you are ready for the worst before sending your shipment out to the consignee.

Looking for advice or a rate quote on your regular or high-value shipments? Contact us!

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Perks of Using a 3PL for your LTL Shipments

LTL, or Less-then-Truckload, is quite popular across the board nowadays. If there is no rush –  there is no reason to pay for the whole truck to ship just a few pallets. This is where LTL comes in handy. Using a 3PL for your LTL Shipments can benefit your business in many ways. 

It might seem easier to handle your LTL shipments directly through the LTL carrier, cutting out the middle-man – a 3PL. But is it really the case? Let’s look at a few benefits of shipping your LTL freight through a 3PL.

Here are the main benefits of using a 3PL for LTL shipments:

Expertise3pl for ltl

Freight shipping is literally their specialty, LTL included. Who can find the best way to handle your LTL freight than someone who is doing it on a daily basis? A 3PL is helping many customers handle their LTL shipping – they have seen different lanes, products, issues. This experience helps them evaluate your shipping and choose the most efficient option and anticipate potential risks.

Cost savings

Your company might only ship a few pallets a month while a 3PL is shipping a significantly higher volume across the whole country on a daily basis. What does that mean for you? Their volume and buying power gives 3PL leverage when negotiating rates with LTL carriers. By partnering up with a 3PL, you get access to these discounted rates.

Visibility

It’s crucial for any business to know what is happening with their freight at any point in time. Many companies are afraid of the loss of control when using a 3PL for LTL. The truth of the matter is, you gain more visibility into where your shipment is that you may not have had previous to outsourcing. A team of professionals is focusing on providing the highest level of service to your company – from providing the list of carriers for your shipment (including rates, transit times and other shipping details) to detailed updates all along the way.

Additionally, PLS can offer you extra perks. ‘Where technology and logistics merge’ isn’t just a fancy statement! We pride ourselves in our proprietary state-of-art software, designed specifically to make your LTL shipping a unique and pleasant experience.

Do you want to be in full control of your supply chain? That’s an option, too! We will provide you with access to our LTL system for quoting, scheduling and tracking your LTL freight. You will personally manage your LTL shipping while taking advantage of our user-friendly technology and discounted rates.

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Read more: Are you making these LTL shipping mistakes?

Are you Making These LTL Shipping Mistakes?

Many shippers consider LTL (Less-then Truckload) as an option for their smaller shipments for obvious cost-saving reasons. Why pay for the whole truck if your freight only occupies a few feet of deck space?

iStock-482503593.jpgAt the same time, LTL carriers are much more ‘by the book’ compared to numerous full truck load carriers and minor mistakes can cost you time and money. Handling your LTL shipments poorly will result in various issues and overcharges, and defeat the purpose of the LTL cost-saving altogether.

To take full advantage of the benefits LTL shipping has to offer, be cognizant of the biggest mistakes shippers make – and try to avoid them!

Inaccurate shipments description

The most common mistake which accounts for the majority of post-shipping rate increases! Don’t surprise the carrier with the shipment characteristics drastically different from what you have initially quoted – and they will not surprise you with the increased rate on their invoice.

LTL rates are calculated based on precise shipment characteristics – that’s the whole idea of LTL! Always keep in mind that the quoted rate is only valid if the provided weight, dimensions and class are accurate. Rates will be subject to change should any of these characteristics change.

Carriers often inspect shipments if something seems off. You will not only be charged for the additional weight, deck space or higher class, but quite often for the inspection itself. The easiest way to avoid unexpected up-charges is to know your shipment and provide accurate description when initially quoting it. Avoid using round numbers when declaring the weight of the shipment (e.g. 4,000 lbs) as it’s one of the red flags for terminal workers and will often trigger weight inspection.

Overlooked accessorial chargesiStock-539842772.jpg

As mentioned above, LTL is very ‘by the book’. Variety of additional services will cost extra (even notifying the consignee prior to delivery may by subject to a certain fee) – research most common accessorials and know what your shipment requires before requesting a rate quote.

Although most of the shippers are usually good about mentioning lift-gate or blind shipment requirements, there are some accessorials which are often overlooked and show up on the invoice to shipper’s surprise. Before quoting a shipment, think if there is anything even slightly out of the ordinary – for example, is it potentially delivering to a limited access (anything other than a regular business) or a residential area? Mind that a person’s name instead of a business name on the BOL will very often cause residential delivery charges.

Incomplete and incorrect BOL

Accurate BOL is crucial for any LTL load. This document contains the information critical for successful handling and delivery of your product. The BOL accompanies the load from pick-up to delivery – errors in consignee info will result in missed or delayed deliveries; errors in the number of packages might results in freight getting lost in transit – and so on.

As with anything else, doing your due diligence when preparing paperwork will go a long way in avoiding delivery delays and additional charges. Providing the BOL with the wrong Bill-To information will delay invoicing and you will most likely be charged the Bill-To change fee, and a simple typo in the delivery address caught too late might even result in a re-consignment fee with some carriers. Be detailed-oriented and accurate to avoid these unnecessary upcharges.

In general, know what you need and provide extensive and accurate information whether you are scheduling your LTL loads through a 3PL or directly with an LTL carrier. 3PL’s are often able to offer more competitive LTL rates due to their volume and tariff negotiations with an extensive network of LTL providers.

Looking for the best LTL rates? Contact us for a quote.

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4 Recommendations to Save Money on LTL Shipments in 2017

Carrier.jpgLTL carriers saw all-time high revenues in 2014, then due to a decrease in fuel prices, revenue dropped in 2015. Balanced supply and demand kept LTL prices from dropping in 2016, and JOC.com reports that LTL carriers are looking forward to 2017 as freight volumes are predicted to be higher. Next year, the LTL sector could see a capacity crunch due to the ELD mandate, a slow economy and pricing models. LTL pricing is expected to increase in 2017 and fuel costs aren’t likely to see change. In order to cut LTL freight shipping costs, shippers need to be exact with freight’s weight and dimensions, package and pallet the freight properly, consider consolidation, and utilize transportation management systems.

Infographic: Breaking Down the Costs of LTL Shipping

  1. Weight and Dimensions

LTL rates aren’t straightforward; shippers find that accessorial fees and surcharges increase the total spend. uShip says that about 30% of freight invoices have some type of correction for weight, dimensions, class, or cubic feet. Shippers must be completely accurate in the measurements and weights of the freight pallet being shipped, otherwise, they will be charged for the inaccuracy.

Common Accessorial Charges:

  • Reweigh
  • Reclassification
  • Residential pickup or delivery
  • Redelivery

Download The Shippers Complete Guide to LTL Shipments for more information on accessorial charges.

  1. Packaging and Palletizing

When packaging LTL freight, pallets make shipments easier for carriers to move. With regular LTL freight, shippers palletizing their freight need to use a slip sheet put boxes into a stable position, stack the pallets in columns (not pyramids), strap them for extra safety, and use stretch wrap to avoid shifting. Most shippers are more concerned with freight arriving undamaged at the destination; unsuitable palletizing can lead to 50% of boxes’ compression strength loss. Learn more about the Do’s and Don’ts of Palletizing here.

  1. Optimizing Freight with ConsolidationFreight-1.jpg

Freight consolidation supports shippers who want to cut down costs and emissions. Consolidating LTL shipments into full truckloads helps companies decrease transportation costs, drives consistency and reduces inventory. Load consolidation saves money by improving truckload utilization and taking advantage of the less expensive truckload rates. According to Inbound Logistics, companies can reduce transportation costs from 20-35% by converting LTL shipments to truckload shipments.

Read: Market Update: LTL Volume Down, but Prices Stay Firm

  1. Less-than-Truckload Technology

Transportation management software simplifies the LTL shipment process. Technology helps shippers with carrier selection, rates, invoicing, and other details. PLS PRO 2.0, for example, has standout benefits for LTL shippers: automatic density class estimator, data integrity, auto GL coding, accessorial data with calculated fees, and real-time shipment visibility. For shippers, a TMS reduces inbound and outbound freight expenses, reduces administrative costs through automation and highlights available carriers with an estimated rate, transit time, lane and billing information.

Want to learn more about PLS LTL services and PLS PRO 2.0? Email ltlsales@plslogistics.com.

Differences Between LTL Shipping and TL Shipping

Deciding the best mode to ship your freight can be complicated. To determine the primary way to move freight, shippers should identify the size of the shipment, the budget, the delivery schedule, and the freight’s fragility.

The 2016 logistics report exposed challenges in over-the-road (OTR) transportation; truckload carriers have extra capacity, most shippers have surplus inventory and consumer spending is low.

Low transportation rates and fuel surcharges are affecting truckload carriers more than LTL companies. As a solution, many truckload carriers are removing old trucks from their fleets to close the overcapacity gap until freight demand picks up. LTL carriers, however, are not experiencing overcapacity and have maintained, and even raised rates. In July 2016, both truckload and LTL carriers added jobs.

What is full truckload?

  • Freight shipments that need the entire space or weight limit of a truck’s trailer is a full truckload (TL) shipment. TL shipping is the best option when the freight weighs more than 15,000 pounds, or the shipper has more than 10 pallets of freight.
  • Full TL shipments travel on one truck to its destination, creating a more reliable timeframe for shippers. Truckload shipments are generally more expensive and require less handling than LTL shipments.

What is less-than-truckload?

  • Freight shipments that do not require the entire space in a truck’s trailer is less-than-truckload shipping. LTL shipping is the best option for shipments that weigh less than 15,000 pounds.
  • LTL shipping allows multiple shippers to share space on the same truck. Since you’re sharing the truck’s space with multiple shippers, there is a higher risk of damaged goods. With LTL, your freight is usually loaded and unloaded multiple times before arriving at its destination.

When using OTR transportation, there are a variety of trailer choices, including:

When looking for consistent service, shipment visibility, cost-effective modes and reliable routes, shippers of all sizes turn to 3PL services. 3PLs offer shippers size, scale, flexibility and technology.

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JOC.com: Source

Market Update: LTL Volume Down but Prices Stay Firm

The less-than-truckload (LTL) market is adjusting to a soft freight environment, triggering less volume, revenue and profits. As the U.S. freight economy weakened, LTL carriers saw a slip in revenue year-over-year. To date, the only large LTL carrier that hasn’t reported a decline in revenue is FedEx.

In the first quarter of 2016, LTL carriers posted a 3.1% rise in yields (revenue per hundredweight) despite a 2.7% drop in tonnage per day. Compare that with a 6.6% rise in yields on a 0.9% rise in tonnage per day in the first quarter of 2015.

Most LTL carriers said freight demand was better in July, but still reduced compared to a year ago. Stifel trucking analyst, David Ross, called the LTL pricing environment “a little more competitive than originally anticipated.” But, most LTL executives say pricing remains rational, even during the usually slow first quarter.

“Despite near-term headwinds from decreasing fuel surcharge revenue and an inconsistent industrial economy, we believe LTL pricing remains rational,” says James Welch of YRC Worldwide. “LTL companies are focused on evolution of the supply chain distribution process and getting an adequate return on the capital,” Welch continued.

LTL carriers have been able to maintain rates even with declining volumes. Some LTL carriers have even increased rates. The pricing ceiling grown by LTL carriers since the last recession and LTL price war appears to be holding firm despite the sluggish economy.

LTL carriers aren’t experiencing excess capacity like the truckload sector. 55% of shippers surveyed said LTL capacity was balanced. Only 6% expect LTL capacity to increase over the next 12 months, while 74% said they expect capacity to remain about the same.

Since LTL rates aren’t decreasing anytime soon, shippers can avoid extra fees and negotiate better base rates by working with a 3PL. In order to negotiate lower transportation rates, shippers should consolidate freight, leverage freight spend, highlight attractive freight and utilize the CzarLite Tariff.

Let the Experts Optimize Your LTL Contact Us Now

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