6 LTL shipping mistakes you could be making.

May 11, 2017

Companies will often choose less than truck load shipping (LTL) when they feel their freight load will not be enough for a full trailer. Although, for many businesses, shipping via LTL across the country, or even locally, can be stressful and time consuming without proper knowledge and assistance.

Putting LTL shipping best practices to work can help ease the stress by offering benefits such as a quicker delivery time and a more cost-efficient method. However, if not executed properly, LTL shipping can have its potential downfalls. 

Let’s take a look at the six most common LTL shipping mistakes you could be making that hinder productivity and negatively impact the bottom line. 


1. Inaccurate dimensions / class.

Many organizations, especially smaller ones, don’t always possess the proper scales for weighing all of their freight correctly. Because of this, the weight and dimensions are often estimated and therefore incorrect as a result. The weight and dimensions of goods also play a role in determining freight class (along with density, storage capability, ease of handling, value and liability). If the freight class is inaccurate, it could cause a snag in the back office when rectifying the invoice. These mistakes are quite common among shippers, but are easily avoidable if the right precautions are taken. 

Why this mistake should be avoided: It’s vital that shippers are using the correct tools to properly weigh and calculate the dimensions of all their shipments. Freight dimensions and classes are vital, as they’re used to predetermine the number of individual loads and where they will be placed in a trailer. If the freight dimensions or class are in any way inaccurate, carriers will then have to reweigh and potentially readjust their loads which can prove very costly. While it’s the shipper’s responsibility to determine the correct classification for their freight, Freightquote by C.H. Robinson is glad to assist along the way.


2. Neglecting additional services.

Before booking freight shipments, it’s important to consider the destination it’s being sent to. Always be aware of what is and isn’t included when calculating a shipping quote – inform your carrier in advance if there are additional services you’ll be needing so they can make the proper adjustments to guarantee your shipment is delivered successfully.

Why this mistake should be avoided: Many additional charges arise from a lack of knowledge about the dock delivery set-up. When a freight shipment is delivered and there is no forklift or loading dock to unload onto, a liftgate will have to assist in the process. Using a liftgate is a fairly common example of one such occurrence, as it’s not included in the base rate for freight shipping and is therefore considered an additional service charge. It is also important to know the type of location it’s being picked up or delivered to. For example, limited access locations such as (but not limited to) mines, schools, prisons, military bases, etc. will often times incur additional charges. 


3. Errors in documentation.

Documentation errors are a fairly broad category. Essentially, any sort of paperwork that hasn’t been properly filled out or is riddled with mistakes falls under this category. A few examples of documentation errors include contact, packing, payment, classification, value and product description information. Other types of shipments that require proper paperwork are those involving a CFS station, cross-border, hazmat, or tradeshow.

Why this mistake should be avoided: If shippers provide the wrong information, there is a good chance the freight being shipped will not be delivered on time or to the correct destination – if delivered at all. It’s important for shippers or whoever is in charge of the required paperwork to double check and reassure that all the documentations have been filled out correctly. 


4. Improper packaging.

When shipping via LTL, the items being shipped are handled a number of times. When freight isn’t packaged correctly, there’s a higher probability that damage will occur as a result. Loading goods onto standard shipping pallets or into crates prior to pick-up is strongly recommended for anyone who is using LTL shipping.

Why this mistake should be avoided: This shipping mistake often leads to damage claims being charged due to poor and improper packaging. Proper packaging, along with the labeling of goods can help prevent such problems. If you’re unsure about the way your freight is packaged, always consult with a packaging professional for expert advice on the matter. Check out these proper packaging tips for more information.


5. Not considering all options.

It’s important to keep in mind that carriers could always raise prices or downsize their facilities leaving you high and dry. Many carriers use different methods for determining rates and standards when calculating shipping cost. LTL shippers who have been in the business for many years tend to develop strong relationships with their preferred carrier. While there is nothing wrong with this, it’s unwise to put all your eggs in one basket by relying on one carrier for all shipments. 

Why this mistake should be avoided: It’s always sensible for shippers to compare the overall cost and ROI of carriers before shipping. It’s a good idea to work with freight service providers to gain access to a long list of competitive and flexible options to choose from. Freightquote can help customers select from a variety of carriers to meet transit and pricing needs.


6. Forgetting to track.

"Fuhgeddaboudit.” Many shippers like to pretend they’re part of the Sopranos when it comes to tracking orders. Often times, shippers who really trust their carriers will send out their shipment then completely forget about it. 

Why this mistake should be avoided: Even if the shipper and carrier have a great relationship, this is not ideal. Unfortunately, shipping mistakes do happen and customers are lost as a result. Shippers should always monitor and track the status of their shipments to ensure that the delivery is made on time. Online freight service providers like Freightquote have the technology and experts to track loads and keep the customer in the loop when things go awry.  


Final thoughts.

Shipping mistakes are unavoidable. Smart shippers know this and put a premium on learning from the mistakes and errors of the past to better prepare themselves for the future.

LTL shipping is a widely popular option for shippers everywhere. So, while there are plenty of advantages to using LTL shipping, there are also challenges and problems that come with it. Keep these six mistakes in mind the next time you ship LTL.

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