Major parcel carriers are sounding the warning bell on possible significant service disruptions this holiday season, which could dramatically decrease capacity as soon as November 8. This also comes on the heels of announcements of free holiday shipping from Target, Walmart and Amazon to boost sales. With annual ecommerce sales expected to peak during Q418 under already constrained less-than-truckload conditions, losing another 7-10% of total LTL capacity will impact everyone.

What does this mean for you?

You already may be experiencing freight rejections. Many 3PLs are actively directing customers to alternate carriers to keep freight moving. This is tightening capacity across the entire domestic LTL network, an effect felt by all shippers, not just parcel carrier users. As available capacity lessens during the Q4 peak season, rates will rise. Shippers should expect to pay more this season, which means consumers will too.

What can you do about it?

  • Strengthen your bench – many shippers prefer specific LTL carriers, whether for price, service or speed. Despite having a favorite, savvy shippers often establish relationships and rates with multiple LTL carriers to ensure they always have options for moving their goods.
  • Plan ahead – the LTL shipment you’re used to tendering same-day might not move as planned. Give LTL providers as much notice as possible so they can maximize trailer space and routes to move your shipment on time.
  • Know your ‘stuff’ – providing inaccurate information to carriers regarding shipment dimensions, weight or class that impacts their asset utilization is a quick way to get kicked to the curb. It’s also a way to get your shipments left on the dock while working out the details. When competing for capacity, the easiest shippers often get the space.
  • Ask for help – using multiple LTL carriers under different rates without a transportation management system is tricky and time-consuming. Look to leverage a system or 3PL for easy quoting and dispatch that doesn’t break the bank.

How can FreightRover help?

FreightRover’s SmartLTL offers multiple quick fixes for shippers responding to the looming LTL capacity dilemma:

  • Capacity options – The system provides shippers immediate access to multiple carriers specializing in all US regions.
  • Rates – Shippers can leverage their existing carrier rates or use pre-established carrier rates without individual contract negotiations needed.
  • Speed – SmartLTL offers quick quote-to-tender capabilities in under 60 seconds. Shippers receive immediate quotes from multiple carriers and can sort by rate or speed of delivery.
  • Efficiency – Easy data saves accelerate shipment builds. Create the information once, save it, and use the easy search and click option for creating future shipments.
  • In-system shipment tracking – Shippers receive a tracking link at shipment dispatch to monitor their shipment or can leverage the customer service team for shipment information.
  • One-click invoice approval – SmartLTL publishes invoice amounts online for easy review without the unnecessary paperwork.
  • Streamlined payments – FreightRover acts as a third party to issue carrier payments, so shippers move to one payee. This eliminates the need for long carrier onboardings and managing multiple carrier pay terms.

Perhaps most important, regarding the impending capacity question, FreightRover can get shippers operating in the platform within 24 hours. Launch includes three easy steps: 1) agreement signatures, 2) quick system tutorial, and then 3) shipment builds begin.

The system doesn’t require subscription fees or licenses, so shippers only pay a low fee per shipment for SmartLTL access. They can use the system permanently or until LTL capacity returns to normal.

It’s always good to have a Plan B when it comes to shipping. Block some time to think about your alternative strategy as the capacity crunch lingers. SmartLTL is here to help. It makes a great Plan B, but after trying it, we think you’ll consider it your new Plan A.

When it comes to shipping less-than-truckload (LTL), the devil is in the details. Systems like FreightRover’s SmartLTL eliminate the difficult work around building shipments and finding capacity at the right price. Knowing your LTL shipment’s specifics also saves you a lot of time and money. Here are FreightRover’s quick tips for LTL.

Your BOL is the bible.

Carriers live by the information you put on your BOL. If information is missing or inaccurate on your BOL, you’re likely to pay a price.

Know your freight class and NMFC number.

Knowing your freight class gives you the most accurate LTL quotes. While many systems use calculators to help you determine a freight class, these are only estimates. When doing an RFP, work with your carriers to agree on your freight class upfront. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your carriers for help in advance as well.

Reclassifications or NMFC disputes often appear on the invoice, which may not always make it over to the Operations team from Accounting. Make sure the team tendering your shipments know how the carrier is assessing the freight, so they don’t keep making the same costly errors.

Weight can’t wait.

Across our customer base, the fee we see most assessed by carriers are reweigh fees. If you ship LTL frequently, a good scale is a great investment. Mistakes like relying on weights on manufacturer boxes or forgetting to include the additional weight of your pallet will cost you. You’ll likely be assessed a reweigh fee and weight change fee. LTL carriers have individuals on the docks focused on finding loads with weights that don’t match. Don’t let one be yours.

Time is of the essence.

Narrow appointment windows or same-day shipments can prevent carriers from quoting your freight or may drive up rates. LTL carriers prefer office hours, avoid weekends, and want as much time to optimize their trucks as possible.

Share what’s special about your shipment.

To help your freight meet its delivery date, let carriers know about accessorials up front. Detail shipments that require services like liftgates, appointments, or special handling. Failing to disclose these details not only will drive up your invoice, but also could cause you to incur additional fees like reconsignments or detention.

Train your receivers to inspect shipments before signing.

Claims are frequent among LTL shipments. Unfortunately, we see many customers try to file claims after a delivery receipt was signed indicating no damage. This sets everyone up for a long battle. Work with your delivery recipients to check your shipment and take a picture of any damage before the driver leaves.

LTL volumes are expected to grow by 3% annually through 2022. As capacity becomes more difficult to come by, the savvy LTL shippers will move the most freight. FreightRover’s SmartLTL is here to help. You manage the details. SmartLTL delivers. Everyone wins.