Did you know that over 70% of cargo in the United States is moved via truckload shipment? In fact, the US trucking industry has generated over $700 billion and transported over 10.8 million tons in 2017. That’s far more than trains, boats, and air freight. It also represents the equivalent of around 30 pounds of goods for every man, woman, and child in the country.
It’s not surprising that eCommerce has been a major driving force for truckload shipping. Industry trends also indicate that freight shipments will only increase in number over the coming years. Third-party logistics providers are now competing with each other, trying to deliver goods as fast and as efficiently as possible. When it comes to moving products domestically, choosing between freight carriers can sometimes prove to be a challenge. You will need to find a logistics service provider that’s able to meet the needs of both your organization and those of your customers.
Less-than-truckload (LTL) freight carriers and full truckload (FTL) carriers are among the most common options. However, the decision ultimately depends on the needs of your company, the type of goods you are shipping, and your shipping budget. Generally, it’s preferable for companies to choose an FTL carrier over an LTL carrier, but there are some exceptions.
Below, we will be looking at some of the benefits of these types of freight companies, as well as what you should look for in terms of freight shipping services.
Choosing the Correct Carrier
Business owners need to be aware of just how important it is to select the right type of carrier to meet their company’s needs. In order to do this, t’s important to first understand the differences between LTL and FTL shipping.
Choosing an LTL Carrier
LTL carrier operations refer to shipments that do not take up the entirety of the truck’s freight capacity. This means that LTL shipping typically combines multiple shipments, between 100 and 10,000 pounds, from different customers, requiring you to pay only for the space that you need. As such, LTL freight shipping is a good alternative for small businesses that don’t ship in large quantities and/or are mindful of their shipping costs.
LTL shipments will, however, have longer delivery times since the multiple shipments will also require more stops at different final destinations. As such, LTL shipping may not be the best choice when time is of the essence. Put simply, less-than-truckload shipping is a good choice for small companies that don’t ship in large quantities and are okay with their goods taking a bit longer to reach their final destinations.
Choosing an FTL Carrier
Full truckload shipping typically refers to ten pallets or more. The shipment will stay on the same truck at pickup and delivery, making full truckload shipping the most efficient transportation method for those that need to ship goods in large quantities. Even if FTL cargo should take up the entire truck by itself, smaller shipments can also benefit from this type of freight shipping. If, for instance, you are sending high-risk goods, FTL may be a better option. Since these shipments stay on the same truck the entire time and aren’t transferred during transport, there is far less risk of damage.
In addition, full truckload shipping is faster than LTL because there won’t be any additional stops on the way. Likewise, by consolidating your shipments, you will not only be able to reduce costs but also help boost productivity, raise efficiency, lower your carbon footprint, lower risks and insurance charges, as well as minimize your stock expenses with cross-docking.
In short, a full truckload carrier can guarantee some additional safety and security when it comes to handling your goods. With LTL shipping, your cargo will likely be moved around several times, increasing the likelihood of something breaking or going missing. FTL is, therefore, a better alternative if you are shipping large quantities, high-risk items, delicate materials, or cargo that needs tighter security. FTL also has a shorter transit time and can provide more cost savings.
What to Look for in Freight Companies
When in the market for a logistics company, you want to look for someone that’s dependable and reputable in the trucking industry. They should have a proven record of delivering on time and with the goods intact. It’s also a good idea to look for someone that is able to provide services for different industries and business sizes, ensuring their adaptability to your company’s potentially shifting needs. It is also advisable to seek out larger providers with extensive networks who can offer expedited shipping and other reputation saving services. You never know when you may need it.
Ideally, your truckload carrier should also provide you with high-quality transportation management systems and supply chain technology solutions, as well as a variety of vehicles able to tackle different needs. These may include things like flatbed and climate-controlled units, dry van, intermodal, drayage, and other shipping options. In addition, the freight shipping company should also have outstanding customer service that is attentive and responsive to your questions and concerns.
Finding the right truckload carrier boils down to an organization that will pay attention to detail, has plenty of experience in the trucking industry, and has comprehensive resources to tackle different needs.
You want a shipping service that pays attention to detail, has deep resources and plenty of experience. One that can get the job done at the best price, on the quickest timeline, and without sacrificing quality.
Additional Considerations When Choosing a Truckload Carrier
The right truckload carrier for your business is one that’s able to strike a balance between the best price, high-quality services, and timely deliveries. That said, it’s important to remember that the lowest price on the market isn’t always the best bang for the buck. You may want to pay a bit more if it means that all of your requirements are more likely to be met.
You should also look for a partner that offers a dedicated account representative able to handle everything from quoting, invoicing, and managing your deliveries. This can greatly streamline processes, as opposed to dealing with various members of a customer service team. Lastly, you should seek a shipping service that stays up-to-date on the latest industry trends and takes advantage of state-of-the-art technology that’s able to optimize routes and services while providing real-time tracking information.
Choosing the correct truckload carrier for your organization can greatly streamline and optimize your logistics processes. You will no longer have to worry about late, damaged, or missing shipments when dealing with an expert third-party logistics service provider.
Allow the experts at Red Bird Logistics to manage your truckload shipments. We have extensive experience in the trucking industry. We collaborate with over 20,000 companies and provide our customers with end-to-end transit solutions at affordable prices. Feel free to check out our logistic services and supply chain solutions.