There are four things that stand out when talking about best practices for LTL freight shipping. These four things may be simplistic, however, they will help you improve business relationships so that they are mutually beneficial and efficient. These practices could help you find lower shipping rates and optimal capacity as rates increase and capacity becomes harder to find.
1. REPORT ACCURATE WEIGHT
Weighing your shipment accurately is critical to improving efficiency and future rates. Carriers have to re-weigh about 80% of shipments today, which leads to higher expenses and reduced efficiency for LTL carriers. Shippers have a responsibility to accurately report the weight of their shipment, and doing this diligently will pay off for the shipper in the long run.
2. SUBMIT AN ACCURATE BILL OF LADING
Carriers do not audit every Bill of Lading that they receive; however, they are increasing the amount that they do audit because it has become such an issue. Every detail needs to be looked over and accurate since those details affect rates, transit times, and a variety of other factors.
3. AVOID ACCESSORIAL CHARGES
LTL carriers have realized that they are behind in the area of accessorial charges. While parcel shipping has about 45 accessorial charges, the LTL industry only has about 15 accessorial charges. These charges could accrue for things such as residential service, liftgates, and appointments. LTL also does not currently have as high of fees for accessorial charges as the parcel shipping industry does so it is more costly for the carriers when you have specific requests. This means that when capacity is tight, carriers are likely to choose to work with shippers with fewer requests so that they can maintain higher margins.
4. PACKAGE FREIGHT PROPERLY
Carriers have an increased expense when they have to take extra steps to handle an improperly packaged shipment. While you will likely receive a penalty for improperly packaged freight, these penalties do not fully compensate the carrier’s additional costs. Improperly packaged freight also increases the risk of the shipment being damaged. Carriers will be much happier to work and negotiate with shippers who practice proper packaging procedures.