The LTL shipping industry keeps growing, and experts estimate the $38 billion sector to expand even further. More and more shippers and small businesses have started using LTL services for their logistics needs. It’s become the cheaper option rather than a full truckload. LTL is not only cheaper but easier too because it doesn’t involve working with freight brokers and third parties. However, even if you are using online services to get LTL rates, there are still two parts involved in the shipping process: shippers and LTL carriers. Essentially, you want to ensure cost-efficiency and a smooth shipping process. That’s why it is important to choose a good LTL carrier for a better shipping experience.
Choosing the right LTL carrier may be challenging. Shippers often get attracted by low rates and forget about all the other factors which shape the LTL carrier image. Depending on your shipping needs, some carriers may suit you better than others.
How to choose an LTL carrier?
Once you’ve compared freight rates from various LTL carriers, it’s time to select the one that best serves your needs. Here are some aspects you should consider when searching for the perfect LTL carrier to work with:
Understanding the service area of your LTL carriers will help you decide on the most viable option for your shipment. Regional carriers typically have more freight on the trailer, so shipping cost becomes lower. It is also important to figure out in advance since many carriers do direct pickup and delivery only within their served area.
Whether you send or receive freight shipment, shipping speed is an important concern. Therefore, make sure to consider transit times are as mentioned. If your LTL carrier does long hauls, it will most likely take longer for them to deliver the shipment, than for a regional carrier.
Good LTL carriers have to inform you about your shipment’s location and properly communicate any route changes or delays. Also, some carriers offer online tracking, so make sure to figure out whether this option is available.
Each freight carrier ensures a certain amount of freight liability. In most cases, this liability won’t cover the declared value of your cargo in case of damage. That’s why shipping companies recommend obtaining full-coverage freight insurance. Knowing the amount of liability is important for your shipment’s safety.
Essentially, you expect to receive good service. Double check whether your carrier provides updates, delivers on time, notifies customers in case of any issues, etc. Learning this in advance would save you time, costs, and patience.
Many shippers book a shipment because of the low rate and later end up paying much more for hidden services. If your freight has special handling requirements, needs inside delivery, or you’re shipping to a limited access area, make sure to notify your LTL carrier. This will not only save you from additional charges but also help build a better relationship with the carrier.
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