Five key ingredients for generating freight shipping rates.

question calculator money

When preparing a meal, it's important to know the ingredients to generate a consistent flavor, time after time. The same can be said about the freight shipping process, it too calls for a set of ingredients to generate accurate freight shipping rates. The better that shippers are able to understand and provide the critical elements that mold freight shipping rates, the easier it is for them to manage expectations and prepare their freight shipping processes for long term cost savings across the entire transportation department.

So, what exactly carries weight when freight shipping rates are generated? While all of the below factors play their own role in determining the rate at which freight is transported, they are also interconnected.

Here are five of the most important factors shippers should consider when it comes to freight shipping rates:


1. Shipping origin and destination.

Shipping origin and destination are the first elements that shippers must consider when generating freight shipping rates. Since fuel usage influences shipping cost, the further the distance between the shipping origin and the final destination, the higher the rate will be. It's also important to note whether or not a carrier focuses on a specific geographical region, as shipments sent outside their service area will be transferred to another carrier for final delivery. This process is commonly referred to as interlining and it can impact the transit time as well as the freight shipping rates.


2. Specifics of what's being shipped.

After shippers have identified and made note of where the freight is being sent, it's then time to provide some critical details about what is being shipped. Here are a few of the primary specifics that should be noted:

  • Dimensions:

    Length, width and height should be measured and rounded to the nearest inch. This measurement is essential for LTL carriers, as they rely on freight dimensions to determine how much freight will fit on a truck.
  • Weight:

    Carriers use weight to determine the amount of freight that can be put on a single truck. Accurate shipment weight allows carriers to adhere to strict DOT regulations.
  • Freight Class:

    Determined by the weight, dimensions, density, ease of handling, value and liability of the freight, freight classifications provide a common standard for setting rates. Typically, lower classes will incur lower rates while higher classes will lead to higher rates. Learn more about freight class.


3. Need for special services.

Basic freight shipping rates are largely dependent on the fundamental factors mentioned above, but sometimes shippers have a need for special services. Oversized items, blind shipments, shipping hazardous materials, inside pickup or delivery, lift-gate services, and residential pick up or delivery are a few of the most common requests made by shippers that can sway freight shipping rates.


4. Preferred method of shipping.

The mode of transportation used to ship the freight is another weighing factor. When shipping by truck, the size of the shipment will determine if you should use less than truckload (LTL) or full truckload (TL). It's usually more economical for shippers with large shipments to use the space of a single truck, rather than being mixed with a number of other shipments in an LTL situation. Truckload providers typically charge per mile. If time is an issue, expedited shipping or guaranteed delivery options can be selected, but additional charges will apply. To learn more about selecting the shipping modes, take a look at our post about freight shipping options that fit your needs.


5. Carrier preference.

With the above information gathered and ready to submit, it's then time for the shipper to select their carrier. While different carriers present different rates, it's important for shippers to select a carrier that fits their needs and can get the job done in a safe, secure, and timely manner.


Final thoughts. 

Shippers that lack their freight specifics as it relates to the factors above might encounter elevated rates or even rate adjustments. Get to know these 5 ingredients to keep your freight shipping rates at expected levels, time after time.


Whether you have been shipping freight for many years or this is your first time, Freightquote by C.H. Robinson's patented technology allows you to get instant and free freight shipping rates. Get started and sign up now.

Get Free Quotes

Featured Image Credit:


Get Your Shipping Quote