Transit times for LTL shipments can seem confusing at best for many shippers, and often lead to a wide array of frustration and often turn into a source of contention when everything doesn’t go as planned. A delayed shipment can cost customers money, time, and sanity, especially when the items being shipped are time sensitive. You may be asking yourself what this means for you and your freight, and what you can do to get your shipment where it needs to go without encountering a tracking nightmare, and here are some answers to these questions.
Transit times are estimated and not ensured because a variety of factors can come into play that could potentially delay your shipments arrival on its projected delivery date. Some of these factors are as simple as traffic and weather which can cause delays preventing a shipment from reaching the origin terminal as planned. On other occasions lane capacity, mechanical malfunctions, and a wealth of other factors can potentially influence the fate of your freight’s arrival to where it needs to be.
What we first need to decode is essentially what an estimated transit time means. For example, if your shipment has an estimated transit time of three days, this is not assuming it will deliver three days from when it is picked up. The day your shipment is picked up does not count towards the three day time period, and neither do weekends or holidays, so if your pick-up occurs on a Wednesday, and it has a 3 day transit time, it is not projected to deliver until Monday of the following business week. There is also the scenario where not all carriers service certain areas of the country, and a partner carrier will indirectly be servicing a portion of the delivery. In most cases, the estimated delivery timeframe only accounts for the initial leg or the transport until it is delivered to the partner carrier. After that exchange occurs, visibility is reduced, and delivery can be contingent upon even more factors that can delay your freight delivery indefinitely.
But what if you have freight that absolutely MUST get to it’s destination on time, or else the sky will fall and the end times will be upon us? That’s where guaranteeing your shipment comes in. A “guarantee” is an additional service offered by most carriers similar to any other supplemental service such as residential delivery and lift-gate for delivery services. We established earlier that all LTL shipments are established with estimated transit times, but when you select the “guarantee” service it guarantees that your shipment will be delivered on time, or else there will be no charge and the shipment will be free.