5 Mistakes You Are Making on LTL Shipping

Patrick O'Loughlin Mar 11
  1. You are not providing the correct shipping information
  2. You are not quoting with multiple LTL Carriers
  3. You are not considering accessorials
  4. You are not securing your freight properly
  5. You are not using a TMS

If you ship palletized freight, you are probably making some simple mistakes which affect the effectiveness of your supply chain. Utilizing Less than Truckload Shipping, known as LTL, is a industry worth tens of billions of dollars in the United States. While it is only a small fraction of the transportation market, it is vital for shippers to ship their products across the country. 

LTL freight gives you the ability to ship affordably in smaller quantities to keep your supply chain in motion without having to wait to fill an entire truck to send out orders.

1. You Are Not Providing the Correct Shipping Information

An important part of booking any kind of shipments is ensuring the carrier has the correct and appropriate information in order to move your load. Pricing for LTL freight depends on weight, dimensions, freight class, distance, and accessorials. It is important to include accurate weight and dimensions to avoid penalty charges. 

Another important factor to consider when giving the correct information is that your freight is accurately classed. Many shippers believe freight class is determined solely on density or solely on the commodity. Work with your carrier or 3PL to determine the best freight class for your shipment. 

2. You are not quoting with multiple LTL carriers 

Quoting with multiple carriers could take a lot of time but it is something that will save you time and money in the long haul. The advantage of quoting with multiple carriers is you would be able to compare the different quotes to get the right price for your shipment. You could also compare the days of transit different carriers have on that specific lane. 

3. You Are Not Considering Accessorials

Accessorial charges are a la carte services with extra charges on top of standard shipping and receiving. If you repeatedly ship using the same accessorials, it is a good idea to get a good idea of what the charge for each accessorial service is with each carrier. If you continue to use the same accessorial service, it could be worthwhile to try to standardize that rate with your carriers. 

Common accessorial charges include liftgate service, redelivery charge, advanced notification, limited access, lumper or driver load/unload, residential pickup or delivery, hazardous materials, after hour delivery, metro pickup/delivery, etc. 

Another charge that carriers pass onto shippers that is easily avoidable is a charge relating to providing a copy of the BOL for the driver. While this seems like something silly to charge for, it is something that happens. 

4. You Are Not Securing Your Freight Properly 

When shipping via LTL, it is common that your shipment passes through multiple terminals on its way to the destination. It is important to ensure your freight is securely packaged at the time it leaves your facility. You can do this by using corner boards, shrink wrap, and using pallets that are intact at the time of loading.

Another way to avoid claims is to take note of the condition of the freight as it is loaded onto the trailer from your warehouse. An easy way to do this is to have a picture taken at this time. 

5. You Are Not Using a Transportation Management System (TMS)

The ability to generate quotes instantly provides a great advantage over requesting a quote and waiting for a response by a rep. For one, it is much quicker in generating a quote. Another reason is it can help ensure the correct information is being used to generate the quote. Mistakes do happen when relaying information over email or phone but does not happen when inputting the information directly to the system.