Freight Shipping: What Option Best Fits Your Needs?

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Your freight could move by a variety of means. Prior to choosing which is best suited for your freight shipping, there are a number of important factors to consider, and they will help you determine which option is right for you. The freight dimensions comprised of length, width, and height, along with freight weight, fragility, storage needs and delivery requirements are just a few of the critical elements that help steer the direction of a freight shipment. Continue reading Freight Shipping: What Option Best Fits Your Needs?

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The Inside Scoop on Inside Delivery

palletIf a loading dock is not available at your delivery site, for an additional fee, you can select “inside delivery” on most freight shipments. However, it’s important to know what this service does and does not entail.

When freight is delivered to a residential address, inside delivery indicates moving the pallet to the driveway, porch or garage. Drivers will not take freight inside a home. Most carriers have policies prohibiting drivers from even attempting in-home pick-up or delivery. This policy is to avoid complaints that the driver tracked in mud, damaged walls or doors and the like. Additionally, there are potential liability issues if an accident or injury occurred inside. Therefore, it’s in every party’s best interest that the freight simply is delivered to a convenient outdoor location. Planning for this is imperative when your freight is delivered to a residence.

If delivering to a business, inside delivery generally means inside the door of the business. Typically, the carrier will bring the freight a few feet inside the main entrance.  If the freight needs to be delivered to the interior of the building, up any steps or up an elevator, the delivery charge will increase.

Also, most drivers will not breakdown freight to move it through doors. If your freight is larger than the entryway, a driver will not bring it inside. Drivers will also not perform “extraordinary” functions, including delivering up long or winding drives, or attempting to deliver in any area that is unsafe for their normal equipment such as a narrow hallway or steep stairs.

Understanding what inside delivery means can help you make sound decisions when planning your freight. Contact your Freightquote broker at 800.323.5441 or at Freightquote.com for expert help with inside delivery and all of your freight needs.

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Good Friday may impact carrier transit days

march29_editGood Friday is March 29, 2013.  Though this is not a federal holiday, many carriers will be adjusting their services and hours which can change transit time expectations.  Additionally, many pick-up and delivery location may be closed or have special dock hours for the holiday.  Work with your Freightquote Freight Broker to determine if your shipment will be impacted by Good Friday hours.

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So you’re shipping to Canada, eh?

Tips for shipping in and out of CanadaShipping to and from Canada means moving freight across an international border. Though the process is very standard, there are some special considerations and documentation needed to make sure your shipment makes it through customs to its destination.

Here are a few of the unique aspects to remember in order to ensure seamless delivery when shipping to and from Canada:

All shipments to and from Canada must utilize a customs broker.  The customs broker is responsible for clearing goods into another country and navigating the customs protocol.  Many businesses that frequently ship freight into Canada have a customs broker.  Freightquote regularly works with Willson International, an expert in Canadian and US customs brokerage.

Additional documents are required. When shipping from the US to Canada, in addition to the BOL, you will need a Canadian Customs Invoice (CCI). When shipping from Canada to the US, the shipment should be accompanied by the BOL and a Commercial Invoice.

There must be a value for the shipment indicated on the Commercial Invoice. It’s important to know the overall value of your freight and clearly display it on the customs documents because the freight’s value is verified at the border. The declared value is used to determine import taxes.

Fees are paid by the receiver. Unless specifically stated, all brokerage fees, duties and taxes are paid by the receiver of the freight.

Canadian Postal Code format is unique. Canadian postal codes follow a six digit letter, number rotation pattern.  Example: A1B2C3

Canadian national holidays differ from the US. To ensure your transit times are accurate make sure to consider holidays on both sides of the border.  Below is a list of observed Canadian holidays that are commonly not considered transit days.

Holiday Date
New Year’s Day January 1
Good Friday Same as US
Easter Monday Same as US
Victoria Day Monday before May 25
Canada Day July 1
Labour Day First Monday of September
Thanksgiving Day Second Monday of October
Remembrance Day November 11
Christmas December 25
Boxing Day December 26

Freightquote’s team of dedicated logistics specialists have moved thousands of shipments in and out of Canada. We work to maintain constant communication with the shipper, the customs broker and the carrier to make sure we meet all border regulations and requirements – ensuring your freight arrives hassle-free. If you have shipments in and out of Canada, contact Freightquote to get the expertise and dedication you need for your freight shipments.

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How to manage the weight adjustment process

How to manage the weight adjustment processThough we provide the most accurate information possible on the bill of lading (BOL), freight shipping adjustments happen on occasion. An adjustment is when the carrier corrects shipment specifications, resulting in additional charges due to the inaccurate information. One of the most commonly disputed adjustments is the weight of the shipment.

Having the accurate weight listed on the BOL is important to making sure the truck is loaded properly and safely making weight disputes some of the most difficult adjustments to get corrected. If you feel that the adjustment applied for the weight variance is inaccurate, first you’ll need to verify the shipper did in fact weigh the freight as packaged for shipment.

When a carrier weighs a shipment, they complete a Weight Inspection Certificate, commonly called a WIC. This is the official document of the weight of the shipment in transit and the basis of any weight adjustment. Request a copy of the WIC to see what the weight is recorded at on the document.

It’s common for shippers to calculate weight by weighing one item on the pallet and multiplying that weight by the number of items to determine the total weight of shipment. This is not a foolproof method of determining freight weight and it leaves you vulnerable because you don’t have a recorded weight of the items as prepared to ship. If the only party to weigh the freight “as shipped” is the carrier it’s nearly impossible to convince them of an error because your weight calculation was not “as shipped.”

If you feel you did provide an accurate weight, you first must provide an invoice or packaging slip, proving that the freight that was shipped was the freight listed on the BOL. 

Next, you’ll need to prove the weight of the shipment. You may be able to prove it with certain pre-printed documents. Typically, accepted documents are limited to manufacturer specifications, catalogs, or potentially web page showing weight of the item. Using one of these documents to show the weight of your item can possibly help you resolve your dispute favorably.

Not all documents are considered acceptable forms for determining the weight of a shipment. The following are examples of documents that carriers will not accept as proof of weight, but by no means is this a comprehensive list: copies of past Bill of Ladings, prior delivery receipts or any documentation of other shipments, import documents, spreadsheets, hand written documents, documentation typed on letterhead or a fax cover sheet, emails (including emails from the manufacturer), or weight listed on invoice to customers.

If you do have a weight dispute, look to Freightquote’s in house disputes team to help you manage the process with the carrier. However, the best way to manage weight disputes is to avoid them all together.  Make absolutely sure that the height, weight and class of your shipment is as accurate as possible on the BOL. Work with Freightquote’s team of experts to help you make the best decisions for your freight shipments.  

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Holiday Freight: Oh, Christmas Tree! Oh, Christmas Tree!

Pine TreeIt’s that time of year again where you can find a real Christmas tree for sale on almost every street corner. From the Boy Scouts and local churches to national hardware stores and large retailers, fresh, green trees are in abundance. But have you ever wondered how all these trees find their way to your town?

For many years, Freightquote has been called upon by some of the nation’s largest tree farms to transport the holiday essential all over the nation. Most of these farms are located in Oregon, Washington, California and North Carolina. They use our services because we understand what it takes to move a load like this. Shipping real trees by truckload is difficult to cover, with a lot of carriers simply refusing to move them. Trees are best moved by dry van or a refrigerated truck. Flatbed trucks should be avoided, as well as a shipment with three or more pickups and/or deliveries scheduled. We also make sure there will be delivery assistance for the driver so they aren’t stuck unloading up to 40,000 lbs. of Christmas trees by themselves. Not doing this would definitely get us on the naughty list!

Overall, we are proud of the work we do every year to ensure trees are delivered on time and in good shape. These seasonal shipments have landed all over the country. Who knows – maybe the tree in your home was transported by one of our contract carriers. Regardless, we hope you enjoy this holiday season and all the joy it delivers.

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Natural Disasters Simply Can’t Stop America’s Trucks.

When a natural disaster strikes the nation some aspects of the affected area must come to a stand-still in order to access, and even process, the damage. While that’s true for many things, it does not apply to truck traffic. Allowing trucks to continue their routes is critical to the safety and well-being of those in the immediate area, as well as for Americans throughout the country.

According to a report prepared by the American Trucking Associations, here are a few examples of how halting truck traffic can put citizens at risk:

  • The nation’s food supply will suffer significant shortages in as little as three days, especially for perishable items. Supplies of clean drinking water will run dry in two to four weeks.
  • Essential basic medical supplies, such as syringes, catheters and oxygen, will be jeopardized and could even be depleted, especially if the natural disaster causes a medical emergency. Hospitals and nursing homes will exhaust their food supply within a day and pharmacies will see their inventory disappear.
  • Fuel supplies will run out in just one to two days. Without access to automobile transportation, people won’t be able to get to work, emergency response vehicles will be paralyzed and accumulating garbage will quickly cause health and environmental hazards. This will also cease air, rail and maritime transportation – our nation’s economic lifelines.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg of affected industries. Major manufacturers will see assembly lines shut down, banks and ATMs will use up their cash supplies, even the Department of Defense could see crippling effects.

Natural disasters, like the one the Northeast just experienced with Hurricane Sandy, are devastating on many levels, but making sure we literally keep the country running with truck traffic is essential for a speedy, healthy recovery. We, at Freightquote, appreciate everyone in the trucking industry for their heroic efforts transporting much needed supplies in and out of the Northeast in the wake of Sandy. As always, we extend our offer of assistance in all your trucking needs.

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Freight Demand

Freight demand has been lower than expected. We demanded to know why.

Freight demand was lower than expected in late September and early October. Traditionally, this has been a peak shipping point in the season due to retailers stocking up merchandise to accommodate for holiday shopping. However, this peak has been less prevalent in recent years, and especially appears to be down in 2012. We used our industry knowledge and insights to uncover two fundamental reasons why:

1. Shift in inventory models

It’s difficult to prove this concretely, but there are those who theorize that many firms decided to shift further away from traditional inventory models (where retailers stock up their shelves during strong economies) and move closer to the concept of a Just-In-Time inventory model.

The Just-In-Time inventory model has merchandisers minimally stocking their shelves during September/October and only ordering more product when needed. This way, they avoid over spending up front and not having the sales to match the large cost of their inventory. The prior thinking was to fully stock your shelves in September/October and bank on a strong holiday season.

2. Slow or stagnant economy

Even with the shift in inventory models, 2012 demand seems to be well below average for this time of year. This could be an indicator that growth for the 3rd and 4th quarter may be slower than originally predicted – most industry forecasters called for gross domestic product (GDP) to grow between 2-3% over this period. A slow economy and an underperforming GDP are a good recipe for reduced freight demand.

What does this mean for shippers?

Regardless of why demand is down, or what this indicates, the fact remains that there is less freight moving in the market. This translates, at a macro level, to generally lower pricing and more available capacity. As of right now we are anticipating the softer demand will last through the remainder of 2012 and into early 2013. The next significant demand surge will likely occur in February/March of 2013, but a lot could change between now and then. We believe shippers would be wise to take advantage of this lull in freight demand and the potential pricing benefits it brings.

Find out if rates have lowered in the lanes you ship in by visiting www.freightquote.com.

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Freightquote, Old Hickory Bat Company and Roadrunner Play Real Life Moneyball

In the hit movie Moneyball, Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane, played by Brad Pitt, is portrayed as one of the best general managers in baseball because he successfully replaced marquee baseball stars with unheralded players who had reputations for working hard and getting the job done.

When Billy Beane’s Oakland A’s recently needed a rush supply of baseball bats they turned to Old Hickory Bat Company to come through in a pinch. Old Hickory Bats, who is a major supplier of baseball bats to organized baseball teams, went through the Freightquote online booking process and selected Roadrunner Transportation to handle this important shipment.

The A’s, who happened to be in the middle of a heated pennant race, needed the bats delivered the Tuesday after Labor Day as they faced the Los Angeles Angels that night. The problem was the bats were not scheduled to be available for delivery until late Tuesday. In a panic, the A’s contacted the Freightquote LTL logistics team who worked directly with Roadrunner Transportation to figure out a solution. Roadrunner terminal employee, Tom Kelly, ended up putting a load of bats in a rental truck and, with the help of another terminal employee, made the delivery to the Oakland A’s in time for Tuesday afternoon batting practice. “We simply needed to make it happen!” said Kelly when asked about the success of the timely shipment.

People say baseball is the ultimate team sport and Freightquote, Old Hickory Bats and Roadrunner definitely worked together like champions to help out the A’s. At Freightquote we call that true moneyball.

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A Cure for Freight Class Fever

Freight Classification can be a tricky thing. There are thousands of item numbers to choose from and once you find one that looks right, you have to determine if there are packaging requirements, density requirements or some other hidden note that you didn’t spot.  In total, there are 18 classes to choose from ranging from 50 (lowest) to 500 (highest).

Let us break it down for you. The NMFC (National Motor Freight Classification) classifications provide a standard way to analyze commodities. The class assigned to each product is based on four factors common in transportation: density, stowability, handling and liability. Evaluating products in the marketplace and assigning classifications to them makes it easier for shippers and carriers to negotiate rates.

Classification aims to separate distinct items like hardwood flooring (class 50) from hairdryers (class 100), while at the same time combining items with the same general characteristics, like shoes (class 150), for example, into one classification. This makes communication about the product much easier for both shippers and carriers. So instead of having to worry about what kind of shoes, what brand name or size you are shipping you just look for shoes. Easy, right?

Enough with other examples, you just need help finding the right class for your product! Not a problem –  there are a variety of resources available to you. You  could always start by calling us and we can assist you. If you’re the do-it-yourself type, you can check out the product list at NMFTA.org where you can buy a book or a subscription to their online product called ClassIT. Or, if you only have a few items, you can pay a small one-time fee and the National Motor Freight Transportation Association (NMFTA) will tell you the proper NMFC to use.

If you’re going to venture out on your own and try to find the right freight class for your product here are 3 helpful tips:

  1. Use density as a starting point.  Learn to calculate freight density to determine your classification range. You can find more  info here: Freight Density.
  2. Read the notes. Many items have notes that explain the specifics requirements for that class.
  3. There is only one correct item number for your product. If you get stuck, ask for help.

That’s enough about freight classification for now. More to come later so keep checking in with us. Happy shipping!


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