Less-than-truckload shipping, or more regularly known as LTL shipping can be a good option for you while also saving money. This mode of transportation is widely known by the logistics industry as a beneficial way to move around your shipments. And understanding how LTL shipping rate structure works can help you plan out those shipments. Here are 4 ways you can save some money and keep your shipping costs from piling up.
Freight Packaging for LTL Shipping
LTL shipping does not charge you based off the weight of your shipment, instead you will be charged for the space you will use up. This could be a great thing for you if you have items that don’t fill an entire truck. Carriers are then able to sell the other open space to other customers. The rates for LTL shipping in the freight class are calculated by the density, so you want to pack up for maximum density. If the density is high, then you can achieve a lower shipping cost in that weight range. You can do this by using the smallest box or crate that will hold your product and keep it overall tightly secured. The volume of your load just needs to be minimized. Considering higher-end packaging that allows for a reduced shipment size can lead to more attractive shipping rates.
Stack Up Loads, Not Rates
In addition to factors like weight, distance and freight class being assessed, how your freight can be assembled onto an LTL truck can affect shipping rates. Packing up your products is a part of the cost, but then having those pallets stacked up can lower your costs too. These pallets usually are the standard 4×4 pallet sizes. On the flip side, you can be charged extra if your freight is in an irregular shape because palletizing is impossible. The carriers are missing out on space that could have been used, and someone unfortunately has to pay for it.
Shipping Consolidated Loads
Moreover, consolidating loads with other suppliers or partners has been proven to be an efficient way to ship products. What you are doing is combining loads from other companies that are within your area with your own loads that are headed to the same location. Many times, it is possible to create a full truckload with enough loads that have been consolidated. Working with other companies in such a manner can save you money since you have the same origin and endpoint.
Furthermore, you can try to group shipments together if timing is not a critical concern. Many companies choose to have LTL carriers pick up fewer shipments larger in size than several smaller loads. Essentially, it is cheaper to ship over 8 pallets all at once than sending 1 pallet every three days. Given that carriers do offer price breaks at various weight ranges, you are better off sending one heavier load than two less heavy loads.
Negotiate LTL Shipping Rates
Lastly, the obvious way to get lower rates is by negotiating to the best of your ability. A better understanding of how LTL shipping can assist you in proving your points while negotiating for preferable rates. You want to negotiate the overall cost rather than just the base rate. However, the best way to talk about rate adjustments is when you have built strong relationships over time. Those strategic and long-term relationships with carriers and customers can make a huge difference. Long-term contracts can be made where the rates can be held at the same cost throughout any changes that occur. You don’t get those perks usually as short-term clients that are hopping around from one partner to another.
All in all, the most logical way you can secure great low rates is by partnering up with a 3PL. 3PL brokers that have the knowledge and the experience that can compare rates and keep you up at the industry level. These logistics professionals can organize your supply chain to manage the consolidation and shipping of your loads.
At HTL Freight, we are dedicated to ensuring all of our customers receive reliable shipping at a rate that works for them. We take responsibility for each load and make sure to keep you up to date so you are never left wondering. To see how we can help improve your supply chain reach out and contact us. Or, to get started today, request a quote.