How to Choose an LTL Carrier

Are you giving some thought to the best ways to choose and work effectively with LTL carriers?

It’s essential to understand the National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) system. With NMFC classification, all freight fits between Class 50 and Class 500, based on the freight’s density and value.

You’ll also want to carefully survey each LTL carrier’s density rules in their tariffs. LTL carriers impose cube capacity rules to protect themselves from lightweight freight that occupies more than a trailer’s fair share of space. It’s essential to avoid the habit of freight misclassification to avoid freight audits, slower transit times, and headaches. You’ll also want to ask questions about handling any restricted freight (for example, controlled substances, electronic cigarettes, firearms and ammunition, or fireworks and pyrotechnics), which can differ by LTL carrier.

Remember: Shipments occupying ten linear feet or more of trailer space accrue additional charges per linear foot, and freight greater than 12 feet in dimension qualifies as an oversized shipment.

Another critical way to succeed: Learn your customers’ dock routines and charges for limited access. Some locations lack docks, so you’ll have to find another place or method to unload the truck. Others have few or no personnel to unload the freight. With some companies, dock appointments can be made prior to a shipment, so that when the truck arrives, the dock is available.

You’ll want to consider common accessorials like inside delivery, lift-gate requirements, a sort/segregation request after freight delivery, a detention period over 30 minutes, and freight delivery to a home residence. You can address these accessorials best by using carriers specializing in final-mile delivery vs. the “typical” LTL provider.

Another wise practice is to have a pool, pickup, or consolidation day when the shipper/carrier agrees not to move or pick anything up. Or you can work with your LTL carriers to become a shipper of choice.

Lastly, by getting predictive indicators from your analytics, you can comb through empirical data, alert a customer of a situation, and give them plenty of warning. Empirical data can also help you be more proactive versus reactive to challenges.

Today’s fluctuating and inconsistent capacity means LTL carriers are closely examining their shippers’ behavior and the types of shipments consuming excess resources. LTL carriers want fair compensation for space taken up on their trailers. They want the correct information on a freight bill and no double deliveries. Shippers can work with LTL carriers by providing accurate, digital information on the front end. These are exceptional times in the freight market. Shippers need to work with best-in-class LTL carriers that use technologies like HaulSuite to increase operational efficiencies and lower costs. Contact HaulSuite today.

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