• 4 Questions You Must Ask About Your Freight Broker's Carrier Network

    11/09/2022 — Jen Deming

    When it comes to the carriers that can move your freight, "more is better", right? While that may be true for some, the quality of your partner carriers may be more valuable than quantity. If you're looking to add new carriers to the mix by working with a freight broker, make sure to ask the big questions to determine if their network is right for your needs.


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  • Freight Carrier Closures for the 2022 Holiday Season

    11/03/2022 — Jen Deming

    2022 Freight Carrier Closures

    As we near the end of 2022, it’s crucial to plan ahead for shipping through the holiday season.  Freight demand is starting to show signs of decreasing but continues to strain available carrier capacity. As a result, transit times are still a bit unpredictable. 

    Planning your shipping schedule during the final months of the year will be extra important. To avoid extra stress, take note of when your carriers will be closed during the holidays. 

    Freight carrier closures

    • Saia LTL Freight – will be closed November 24 - 25, December 23 - 26, and January 2.
    • YRC Freight – will be closed November 24 – 25, December 24 – 26, 31, and January 2.
    • XPO Logistics – will be closed November 24 – 25, December 23 – 26, and January 2.
    • ArcBest – will be closed November 24 – 25, December 24 – 25.
    • R+L Carriers – will be closed November 24 - 25, December 24 - 26, and January 2
    • Estes – will be closed November 24 – 25, December 23 – 26, and January 2.
    • Dayton Freight – will be closed November 24 – 25, December 23 – 26, and January 2.
    • Pitt Ohio – will be closed November 24 – 25, December 23 – 26, and January 2.
    • AAA Cooper – will be closed November 24 – 25, December 23 – 26, and January 2.
    • TForce Freight – will be closed November 24 – 25, December 23 – 26, and January 2.

    Avoid being left out in the cold this holiday season

    Freight shipping during peak shipping months can be extra-challenging, but you’re not alone. With over 30 years of holiday seasons under our belt, the freight experts at PartnerShip can help you ship smarter. 

    Please note that our office will be closed November 25-26, December 24, and December 31 so that we can celebrate with our families. Happy Holidays!


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  • Which Shipping Strategy is Right for Your Retail Business?

    10/26/2022 — Jen Deming

    Choosing the right shipping strategy can help increase profitability, conversion, and repeat business from your customers. But, how do you know which one is right for you? We take a look at the three most common small package shipping strategies for retailers, so you can decide what makes sense for your business.


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  • FedEx and UPS Holiday Shipping Deadlines for 2022

    10/21/2022 — Leah Palnik

    2021 Holiday Shipping Deadlines for FedEx and UPS

    As you prepare your store for the influx of orders that come with the holiday season, you’re going to want to keep an eye on the shipping deadlines. Both FedEx and UPS have announced the last dates you can ship your orders and make it in time for a Christmas delivery.

    It’s important to note these deadlines because demand surges this time of year. The carriers' networks are already strained, and it’s only going to get worse the closer we get to the holidays. To keep your customers happy and set the right expectations, we recommend clearly communicating the shipping cutoff dates and adding in extra days in case of delays.

    FedEx has published a complete visual list of the last days to ship. Here are some highlights for domestic shipments:

    • December 8 for FedEx Ground Economy
    • December 14 for FedEx Ground and FedEx Home Delivery
    • December 20 for FedEx Express Saver
    • December 21 for FedEx 2Day and 2Day AM
    • December 22 for FO, PO, SO, and Extra Hours
    • December 23 for FedEx Same Day

    UPS has also created a list of the last days to ship for Christmas delivery. Unfortunately, one thing that is missing is a specific cutoff date for Ground shipments. You will need to get a quote on the UPS website instead. For domestic UPS air shipments, the dates are as follows:

    • December 20 for UPS 3 Day Select
    • December 21 for UPS 2nd Day Air
    • December 22 for UPS Next Day Air services

    It’s also important to note that service guarantees are currently suspended for both FedEx and UPS ground services. It's also suspended for select air/express services. The main takeaway? You’ll want to encourage your customers to order early and do what you can to add in extra days when setting delivery expectations.

    If you're looking for any additional guidance or need a way to lower your small package costs, PartnerShip can help. Contact our team today.


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  • How To Best Protect Your Freight From Freezing

    10/13/2022 — Jen Deming

    How to Protect Your Freight From Freezing

    Winter is coming, and that means large parts of the nation will be impacted by cold, freezing temperatures, and adverse weather conditions. Certain types of freight, like beverages, electronics, and pharmaceuticals, are especially at-risk for damage during the winter months. The good news is that there are ways to protect your freight from freezing, which can help avoid both damages and cost challenges during the winter months. But you must be vigilant and follow three essential strategies.

    Strategy 1 – Ensure your prep and packaging can handle cold temperatures   

    Protecting your freight starts with you, the shipper, and proper packaging and preparation. To make sure that your freight kicks off its journey safely, make sure to use the following tactics to avoid issues:

    • Know your product: Different types of products have varying temperature minimums, so first and foremost, you should determine what temperature ranges are safest for your freight.
    • Group like products together: When palletizing or crating your loads, make sure similar product types (and temperature ranges) are grouped together for maximum safety.
    • Use insulated packaging: When boxing up your product, make sure items are packed with insulating materials, like foam core, cotton or paper fiber, or insulated box liners.
    • Wrap packed pallets: Insulated pallet covers, or specialty cargo blankets can help trap heat inside, making sure your products stay a warm and consistent temperature.
    • Track temperature variations: Many shippers opt to use smart thermometers that can help track shipment temperature and detect any shifts that may impact the product.
    • Load quickly and efficiently: Your loading team doesn’t have the luxury of time during the winter. Load carrier trucks quickly to minimize exposure to low temperatures and other weather risks like rain and snow.

    Strategy 2 – Become familiar with specialized temp-control equipment options

    To be completely honest, the equipment you choose will make or break your freight. Most carriers, especially large national carriers like TForce Freight and YRC Freight, offer temp-controlled services and have specialized trucks in their fleet that can manage freeze-protection. 'Reefer' (refrigerated) trucks aren't just used to haul frozen products during the summer. They can also be used to maintain a constant temperature for at-risk freight during the colder months. 

    Reefer freight

    When arranging your temp-sensitive freight, it’s important to contact your preferred carrier and learn about what options they offer. Communicate your shipment’s needs, starting with product type and what the required temperature range must be. Carriers can help secure a reefer truck, offer heated truck options, or even may provide alternative heating solutions, like portable or built-in trailer heating units. 

    After communicating with the carrier and deciding which temperature-control options are right for you, it’s important to note temperature requirements on your bill-of-lading. As with most special requests, this not only gives the carrier direction on your needs, but it can also be used as a point of reference for liability should something go wrong during transit. 

    Keep in mind, that temperature-control services are considered accessorials, and will incur charges and fees that may vary by carrier. Building those fees into your shipping costs is best done early on in the transportation process.

    Strategy 3 – Stay on top of delays and weather conditions

    Not every part of the United States will be impacted by inclement winter weather – but most of it will be. Snow, rain, ice, and even wind can create major issues for truckers during the winter season. It’s super important to research the path that your shipment will be taking. Don’t let your load fall prey to the common “out of sight, out of mind” misconceptions some shippers succumb to.

    Data Graphic

    When shipping LTL, your load won’t travel from point A to point B in one straight shot. The further your load travels, the more varied its path will be. If your shipment enters any of the high-risk zones like the Midwest, New England, or Central U.S., it’s extra crucial you stay on top of weather updates for your shipping lane. When the weather is bad enough, it’s in your best interest to delay shipping until it clears, if you can swing it. Road closures and rerouting may be hard to predict, so it’s always smart to build extra time into your transit.

    Shipping over the weekend is always tricky, even in the best-case weather scenarios. But in the colder months, you will likely encounter extra challenges. Because weekends are considered “dead freight” time, your loads will sit and be exposed. Your best bet is to ship early in the week and avoid weekends all together, but if you have to, make sure you communicate with the carrier about keeping the temperature-control running while idle.

    Because freight transit can be so unpredictable during cold weather, always keep in mind that you should be keeping alternate shipping options open. If you have a larger freight shipment, a dedicated truck may be a viable alternative. While pricey, keeping room in the budget for emergency scenarios like weather delays is a smart plan of action.

    Shipping freight safely in winter is possible

    Winter weather freight shipping can be tricky, but it’s not out of the question. You will need to strategize even more than you’re used to, and take every precaution necessary to avoid slip-ups. Keep in mind that now is not the time to take any unnecessary risks just in an effort to save a buck. PartnerShip can help you keep on top of cold weather shipping issues, including communicating with carriers and staying on budget. If you’re going to be shipping this winter, make sure to contact our freight experts so your freight is delivered safely. 

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  • What Manufacturers Want: We Talk Shipping Tips With an Industry Insider

    10/07/2022 — Jen Deming

    Manufacturing Shipping Tips

    Manufacturers are kind of a big deal. Take a look around, and you’ll notice that the products, supplies, equipment, and tools they produce are everywhere. Lately, conversations about manufacturing are shifting, as the industry itself is evolving to meet new expectations and demands. In order to gain some insider perspective, we reached out to our industry contacts and association partners. Holly at Jatco Machine &Tool Company, Inc., NTMA member and PartnerShip customer, was generous enough to provide some expert insight.

    • What specific shipping challenges do manufacturers face? What do they do to combat those issues?
      Holly: Some specific shipping challenges would be the balance between cost and delivery times, items arriving on time and undamaged, difficulty of creating/placing shipment. Some things we do to combat those issues are utilizing PartnerShip and packaging our items up ridiculously well. Partnership offers us savings by combining shipments, and they make it so easy to create a shipment. They literally do it all for you!

    • What is the most important factor related to shipping for manufacturers and why?
      Holly: It’s hard to choose one. Obviously, safety goes without saying and should just be a standard for everyone. Other than that, it would be delivery times. Sending an item to a subcontractor can become a process. Two days to ship freight, maybe two or three days for them to do the work, and then another two days back is a full 7 days eating into our deadline. We’d like to get freight to a subcontractor overnight and vice versa. And honestly, two days is not terrible!

    • How can PartnerShip make life easier for manufacturing businesses? 
      Holly: I think that they really do all that they can to be efficient and easy to work with. I enjoy calling and having someone fill everything out correctly, search for rates, and give me the best options.

    • What do we, and others in the industry, need to know about manufacturers and how to best address their shipping needs?
      Holly: We have one-two shipments with Partnership per month. I’m sure others have more or varying amounts. It’s nice to know that we can receive great rates based on merely being a partner verses number of times we ship. We are a small business doing big things all over the country. Shipping will always be a part of that. Partnership makes that aspect as easy as possible.

    Manufacturing Shipping TipsHolly brought up some important points about the distinct challenges that many manufacturers face, like damage concerns and on-time freight delivery. If these are some key concerns you share,  here are some resources that can help you strategize and ship your loads successfully.

    At PartnerShip, we celebrate manufacturers as an industrious, pivotal sector of our economy. Through constant growth and adaptation, manufacturing businesses continue to be inspiring, and we are excited to help your businesses play such a cutting-edge part of the future. If you’re interested in learning how PartnerShip can help you and your manufacturing business ship smarter, contact our team.



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  • Meet the People Who Help You Ship Smarter: Dillon

    10/05/2022 — Leah Palnik

    Above all else, at PartnerShip we value the relationships with our customers and partners. Keeping them happy and ensuring their freight is managed properly is the backbone of what we do. Our Association Program Manager, Dillon, is a prime example of that. He is the main point of contact for our college bookstore associations and is the go-to resource for many of our customers - a role that is as unique as he is.

    Meet Dillon

    About Dillon
    If you get the chance to speak with Dillon, be sure to congratulate him - he recently got engaged to his longtime girlfriend! They have lived together in their beachfront apartment in California for 6 years and enjoy everything the oceanside life offers. When he’s not working, you can find him enjoying a nice meal with his fiancé, playing beach volleyball, or biking down the beach path.

    Expert advice
    Dillon has earned his chops as a Certified Transportation Broker (CTB) and sits on the board for the California Association of College Stores (CACS). Between that and his 7 years of experience at PartnerShip, he’s in a solid position to help our customers ship smarter. We asked him to share some advice.

    • What industry trends are you seeing that you think shippers should be aware of?
      The most obvious industry trend that I can identify is transit times being affected by the demand on the system. You can easily avoid this issue by taking extra time to communicate with your broker, specifically on how early you should order your product and what your realistic expectation for delivery should be.

    • If you could give customers one piece of advice for smart shipping, what would it be?
      My major piece of advice for customers is to communicate with your logistics broker. Many problems can be avoided or instantly fixed when a customer and their broker communicate to understand any shipping issues that may arise.

    Dillon

    Taking it a step further
    Communication is key in Dillon’s eyes and for good reason. A quality freight broker can be your advocate when issues arise with carriers, you’re dealing with deadlines, or have unique needs. But that open dialogue is essential for your broker to do their job right. Curious about the benefits of working with a broker? We’ve got you covered:

    Dillon also hits the nail on the head when it comes to challenges with transit times. If you want to understand what’s happening in the freight industry and how to tackle the resulting issues, there are a couple resources you might find useful:

    Without question, having someone like Dillon on your side to manage your freight is essential these days. If you’re interested in finding out more how our team can help, contact us today


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  • 3 Blunders That Can Sabotage Your Blind Freight Shipment

    09/22/2022 — Jen Deming

    3 Blunders That Can Sabotage Your Blind Freight Shipments Title Graphic

    LTL freight shipments come in many forms, but one of the most confusing types you may have heard of is blind freight shipping. In blind freight shipping, the identity of the shipper, receiver, or both parties is hidden. It’s most commonly used when a business is shipping orders directly from the manufacturer to the customer.

    If you think that sounds complicated, that’s because it is, but there are distinct advantages to taking this route when arranging a freight shipment. The most common reason a business would choose to do this is to keep other parties within your supply chain confidential from your customers, such as manufacturers or distributors. The idea is that they would then be deterred from going directly to those sources for a product instead of your business. Sounds good, right? Well, the challenge is that managing blind freight shipments can get pretty dicey, and most missteps fall within three major areas.

    1. Blind Freight Paperwork Mistakes

      Properly preparing and distributing freight shipping paperwork is a stumbling block for many shippers, on even the most standard loads. In blind shipping, up to three separate BOLs must be prepared, depending on which parties aren’t being disclosed. In double-blind shipping, you will have one for the shipper, one for the receiver, and a conventional BOL for the carrier’s use. All three of the BOLs should include accurate shipment details, including weight, dimensions, and product description. 

      They should also include accurate freight classes so that the load is billed properly. Each of them will, however, have slight but crucial differences to ensure your blind freight stays “blind”. A shipper’s BOL will have all of the usual info, but also include PO# or other identifying information. The receiver may be omitted in order to keep the customer anonymous. Likewise, on the receiver/customer’s BOL, the supplier’s identifying info and address will be concealed. The carrier BOL must contain all relevant information that is typically used on the BOL, including both shipping parties full information.Blind Freight Perks Graphic

      Failing to prepare BOLs properly, or handing them off to the incorrect party, can result in major headaches. A shipment can be misrouted or lost, billed incorrectly, or the blind freight’s purpose may even be defeated by accidentally disclosing parties to one another. The best thing you can do when managing a blind freight shipment is confirm that the carrier has all of the accurate details when setting up the shipment, including the true addresses of both shipping parties.

    2. Not Accounting for the Additional Costs Associated With Blind Freight 

      It’s always smart to assume that if a shipment has any extra services or needs “special” attention, a carrier is going to add some extra fees for their trouble. Due to blind freight shipping complexity, there are extra costs associated with this service. Every carrier charges different amounts, and we’ve seen them anywhere from $50-$150. Check your carrier’s website to determine costs. As seen here with YRC, cost is stated clearly, as well as instructions to prepare a blind freight shipment per their standards. Research these fees and make sure you’re building them into your budget to avoid surprises.

      On top of regular fees for the service, you have to remember that any errors you make when arranging a blind freight load can end up costing you even more. For example, if you handed off the wrong BOL, and the address is incorrect, rerouting and redelivery fees may apply. This can really inflate your final bill, as well as create on-time delivery complications and stress with your customer. 

    3. Not Being Aware of Blind Freight Restrictions

      Just as we see with blind freight costs, requirements and restrictions on these types of shipments can vary with each carrier. Some carriers have a pretty relaxed approach, while many need additional paperwork or approval beforehand. It’s always important to notify your carrier that a shipment is blind at the start of the process so that you can iron out details. 

      Many carriers, such as YRC, require a form or document to be prepared online before pick-up, so that an “official” notice is on file for the request. Carriers may also require paperwork to protect their interests in the case of blind shipping. There may also be a waiver to sign, notifying you that while they will do everything in their power to honor the request, if something goes wrong, it’s not on them. Some may even include stipulations, such as a note that re-delivery will not be attempted due to issues associated with paperwork errors. It really just depends on the shipper, so be sure to visit carrier websites and search for policies on blind freight shipping. If there isn't information made front and center, always download the latest rules tariff and read the fine print. It's not fun, but it may help you avoid mistakes.

    Blind Freight StepsEnsuring You Avoid Any Blind Shipment Blunders 

    While blind freight shipping can sound totally overwhelming, the opportunity to use this type of freight service should be considered for anyone working as a “middleman” between customers and suppliers. A great freight broker can help manage all of the details, including paperwork and communication between all parties to ensure accuracy. With the right assistance, you can be sure that your blind freight shipment will go smoothly. If you think your business might benefit from blind freight shipping, get in contact with a PartnerShip freight expert to learn more.

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  • Meet the People Who Help You Ship Smarter: Amanda

    08/30/2022 — Leah Palnik

    If you’ve ever wanted to know more about the people who help keep your freight moving, you’re in the right place. It takes creative problem solving and years of experience to expertly navigate the world of shipping. At PartnerShip, we’re proud of our team members who use their expertise to help our customers ship smarter. One person who fits that bill is Amanda Bixler.

    Meet Amanda

    Get to know Amanda
    As the Customer Service Manager, Amanda helps her team and our customers ship smarter by staying current with issues in the industry and sharing what she learns. Assisting her team with handling difficult customer situations, creating shipment quotes, scheduling shipments, and running shipping analyses are all in a day’s work for her.

    Outside of work
    You can’t keep Amanda away from the water. When she’s not kayaking, you can find her walking the beaches to collect Lake Erie beach glass for making jewelry. She also loves spending time with her family. She’s happily married to her husband of 10 years, Trevor. She also has two daughters - Autumn and Alexis, and two Grandbabies - Lillyana and Xavier.

    Some shipping wisdom
    Amanda has been with PartnerShip for 7 years, and her team is often the first call when a shipping issue arises. As a Certified Transportation Broker (CTB) she is well versed in what to look out for and how to keep your shipments running smoothly. We asked her for her thoughts on a couple of key questions.

    • What industry trends are you seeing that you think shippers should be aware of?
      The demand for shipping continues to increase daily. There is more freight than there are drivers to move it. The freight is often being put on the rail resulting in longer transit times. I proactively inform my customers of these potential issues so there aren't any surprises.

    • If you could give customers one piece of advice for smart shipping, what would it be?
      I often tell our customers to package their freight in a manner in which it can be identified easily in the event it is lost/damaged.

    The demand for shipping continues to increase daily. There is more freight than there are drivers to move it.

    How to apply these tips to your freight
    Amanda’s insights touch on one of the most pressing issues in LTL freight shipping today - longer, more unpredictable transit times. This has become an unfortunate reality of the business. While much of that is out of your control, the best thing you can do is plan ahead and work with a quality broker so you have an advocate in your corner. If transit times have been a pain point for you recently, we have some resources you may be interested in:

    Another reality of the business that Amanda mentions is dealing with missing and damaged freight. If a carrier loses or damages your freight while in transit, it can feel like so much is out of your control. However, you can take some precautionary measures and educate yourself ahead of time on the actions to take if you need to file a claim. To get you started, check out these resources:

    The benefits of working with a knowledgeable team are undeniable. If you could use a freight expert on your side, contact us today.


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  • The Full Scoop on Inside Delivery

    08/24/2022 — Jen Deming

    When you don't have a loading dock for your freight, your options can seem pretty limited when it comes to delivery. Luckily, many LTL freight carriers offer inside delivery - a convenient service that comes at an extra cost. Learn all about inside delivery in our newest video.


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  • 5 Impactful Ways to Maximize Your Small Logistics Team

    08/19/2022 — Jen Deming

    4 Freight Mistakes You're Making This Summer and How to Keep Your Cool Blog

    These days, businesses are expected to do more with less, and that doesn’t stop at freight shipping. Small logistics teams need to be efficient multitaskers, and the demand to juggle so many responsibilities can be overwhelming. As a business owner, you can help set your logistics team up for success with a little extra planning and five tactics to maximize a small workforce.

    Tip #1: Stay on top of industry updates and make resources available 

    Staying in the loop with freight industry news is great advice for any-sized shipping team, but it’s extra important for those operating with limited manpower. Be on the lookout and be proactive about communicating updates that are released by carriers, such as tariff changes, rate increases, service interruptions, and deadlines. Commit to publishing a regular newsletter or bulletin that communicates these changes. Post them in your warehouse and breakroom along with notices of any upcoming holiday service disruptions. 

    Be sure to implement regular training sessions with staff. It’s also best practice to keep a running list of solid freight shipping resources that your team can refer back to, as needed. 4 Freight Mistakes You're Making This Summer and How to Keep Your Cool BlogWith a small logistics team you’ll need to ensure your everyone has at least a base level of knowledge for each shipping function.

    Tip #2: Prioritize your relationship with the carrier  

    While larger businesses may be able to operate on a more transactional level with carriers, developing relationships with transportation companies and their drivers is super important for smaller teams. By strengthening these connections, a business is more likely to become a shipper of choice, which is key when your logistics staff may run into unforeseen challenges. The current state of the freight industry can present obstacles. Limited truck availability means a carrier can either choose to move or pass up your freight, and in this volatile market any leg up on the competition can help. 

    Offer amenities for drivers like Wi-Fi, plenty of overnight parking, and free coffee. Be friendly and flexible with arrival times and communicate any delays or hang-ups. Paying it forward and becoming a preferred customer with the carrier can go a long way. A happy driver is more likely to help bail your team out in times of trouble or go the extra mile to help out.4 Freight Mistakes You're Making This Summer and How to Keep Your Cool Blog 

    Tip #3: Be extra mindful of minimum charges for LTL shipments

    Smaller businesses generally ship smaller LTL loads, so it’s extra important that your team understands minimum charges to avoid sabotaging your freight costs. Minimum charges are the lowest prices that a carrier will set for its’ service and are implemented to offset operating costs. Each carrier may refer to the charge differently, but they are commonly known as an “Absolute Minimum Charge” or “Minimum Floor Charge”. Usually, the charge is applied for loads that are under 500 lbs.

    In order to get the most bang for your buck, there are a few strategies that your packing team can implement. Maximize the amount of available pallet space by improving stacking technique and planning the layers of your load. Pack like-sized products together to improve density and overall volume. 

    Keep in mind that you can optimize your freight by consolidating loads. There may also be additional opportunities to group multiple small package orders into one, larger freight shipment. Review your smaller parcel shipments and determine if there are openings to use a freight service for cost savings and better efficiency.

    Tip #4: Spend your money on quality loading equipment

    It’s probably a pretty safe bet that if you’re working with a small logistics team, you’re likely working with limited resources. That may include restricted dock space – or a complete lack of a dock. If that’s the case, it’s critical that your team and warehouse/loading areas are well-stocked with fully functioning, safe loading equipment. 

    Investing in equipment like forklifts, pallet jacks, dollies, hand trucks, and hoists are all necessary to help with the loading process. More importantly, these tools can help avoid costly accessorial fees associated with extra services like liftgates and driver assist fees. While these loading supplies may have a high initial cost, this one-time expense can spare you hundreds of dollars in fees and help avoid overtaxing your team.

    Tip #5: Work with a freight broker to access more savings and the right answers

    You don’t have to tell us twice – freight shipping is super complicated and can be a lot to manage. It’s impossible to know everything when you have limited time, workforce, and resources. We know your small logistics team can pull out the stops, but partnering with a freight broker can offer invaluable help. Freight experts can help fill in any gaps when specialists are required, and offer competitive pricing options you may not typically have access to. 

    Knowledgeable freight brokers can also help identify areas you may be spending more than you need to or are experiencing operational inefficiencies. The freight professionals at PartnerShip can supplement your existing workforce and help shoulder some of the weight so you’re not overtaxing your team.

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  • Meet the People Who Help You Ship Smarter: Dante

    07/22/2022 — Leah Palnik

    You might be familiar with PartnerShip and how our organization helps customers ship smarter. But we’re more than a freight brokerage business. The people behind PartnerShip and our collective expertise are truly what make the difference. First up, we’d like to introduce you to Dante Donofrio.

    Meet Dante

    How you might know Dante
    As one of our Senior Account Representatives, Dante helps our customers move their freight. He works hard to collect all the important info about your shipment so he can match it with the best carrier for the job, at the most competitive price. Understanding all your specific needs - from required equipment to receiving hours - he leaves no detail unchecked to ensure everything goes smoothly.

    Some shipping wisdom
    Dante has been with PartnerShip for over 4 years and has witnessed first-hand what shippers are dealing with in these times of disrupted supply chains and unprecedented freight demand. We asked him a couple questions to share what he’s learned.

    • What industry trends are you seeing that you think shippers should be aware of?
      In the less-than-truckload (LTL) market, if you've shipped recently then you know that transit times are not what they were. Carriers are more often than not, NOT able to make their estimated arrival times and, unfortunately, there's not discounts for late shipments. Also, carriers are taking every opportunity to re-weigh, re-measure and even re-class your freight so it just comes back to accuracy and making sure you have the right classification, weight and dimensions. Our team does a great job of helping with freight class so that surprise rate increases from reclassification can be avoided.

    • If you could give customers one piece of advice for smart shipping, what would it be?
      Try to tell us more than we want to know about your freight. Small details can be important so don't be afraid of giving too much information. I love thorough customers who give us lots of information. That said, if you don't do that, be prepared for me to come at you with lots of questions but it's all in the name of getting your freight there and controlling cost!

    Meet Dante

    Something you may not know about Dante
    Dante played guitar in a high school garage rock band but quit when he was working and attending night school. After a bit of a hiatus, he took it up again about 5 years ago and now even has a collection of guitars hanging up on his office wall. When asked if his life was made into a movie what the title would be, Dante says it would be “Shipper Guitar Hero”.

    Your freight
    With all the current challenges in the shipping industry, working with an expert like Dante is imperative. Reach out to our team to start controlling your freight costs and ship smarter. In the meantime, check out these resources that help you determine what details are important when you're preparing your shipment, like Dante advises:



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  • 4 Ways Consolidating Your Freight Will Make Your Life Easier

    07/18/2022 — Jen Deming

    Combining multiple, smaller palletized loads into one larger freight shipment can really pay off in the long run. From saving on costs to increasing fulfillment efficiency, both your business and your customer relationships will benefit from well-planned freight consolidation.  


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  • 4 Freight Mistakes You're Making This Summer and How to Keep Your Cool

    07/07/2022 — Jen Deming

    4 Freight Mistakes You're Making This Summer and How to Keep Your Cool Blog

    Your LTL freight shipments have an arduous journey and can encounter any number of obstacles while traveling the long, winding road to their destination. Certain seasons of the year can lead to increased risk, and shipping in the summer is no exception. In addition to temperature sensitivity, there’s a variety of other factors that can make summer shipping extra prone to issues. We’ve boiled down the major summer freight shipping mistakes that you should avoid, to keep your costs and blood pressure low in the summer heat.

    Mistake 1: Neglecting the boom in summer shipping volume 

    Summer is a busy time for many industries, from retailers who are busy boosting inventory to farms and growers sending produce loads to grocery distributors. We see a huge increase of freight shipments hitting the road in the summer months. This can affect carrier capacity and make it even more difficult to find available trucks. Time-sensitive loads will be more difficult to cover, too, since last-minute truck booking will be harder to accomplish. It’s nearly impossible to understate how much this boost in volume affects the market.

    Solution: Make your loads desirable to the carrier

    To claim first dibs on your favorite carriers, you need to make sure that your loads are as appealing as possible. Stay in good standing with the driver – have a clear loading dock, organized loading process, and make sure your packaging is ideal and easy to transport. The main goal for a driver during these busy seasons is to get in, get out, and get on the road. The more time wasted on navigating your parking lot, loading your shipment, or collecting paperwork is going to set them back for the day. Making life easy for your carriers might be the boost you need to get your loads covered quickly in the summer.

    Mistake 2: Assuming rates will be the same year-round

    Freight rates are directly related to capacity, and in seasons when it’s extra crunched, you’ll see them go up. Other variables like fuel costs can fluctuate unexpectedly as well, so keep these factors in mind when you are building shipping costs into your customer orders. Always keep in mind that a freight quote you received months ago in preparation for a load will no longer be accurate. And if the freight rate is more costly in the present, you can’t exactly go back and ask for more money to cover the difference. 

    Solution: Check spot rates regularly and build in extra cost

    Your best tactic for getting an accurate estimate on freight costs is to run sample quotes periodically, through every season. Gather several from a variety of carriers, being mindful of accessorial costs and other extras. Take an average and use this rate to build in the cost of shipping in your customer orders. It’s always a great idea to cut costs as much as possible in less busy months, as well, to offset the increase during the summer. Creating a nice buffer for your budget can go a long way.

    Mistake 3: Taking risks with temperature sensitive loads

    It goes without saying that summer’s soaring temperatures can cause extra risk to your loads. Creating a protective environment for your product is key to limiting damages during transit. Frozen goods and fresh produce are commonly known risky loads, but items like pharmaceuticals, electronics, chemical agents, and more all need some extra love during the summer. Now is not the time to risk an “economy” or budget carrier for the sake of saving a few bucks.

    Reefer Best Practices Checklist

    Solution: Research and use quality specialty carriers 

    Just as in any industry, freight carriers can leverage expertise and specialize, as needed. Make sure you are looking at carrier companies that are experts in temperature-controlled services and employ refrigerated vans. Understand that these types of specialized equipment are in high demand, and will be more expensive and harder to find. When reviewing reefer carrier options, ask questions on how the equipment is maintained, how loads are stored and separated, and what they do to address potential delays while in transit. Even if you have a product that may walk the line between needing a reefer or regular dry van, taking the chance during extreme heat isn’t going to work in your favor.

    Mistake 4: Miscalculating summer freight transit times

    If you haven’t figured it out already, shipping freight in the summertime can create a two-fold risk for your shipment. Warmer weather can cause product to deteriorate quickly, and capacity issues may lead to more delays than during slower times of the year. Combined with extreme weather, you have a recipe for disaster, namely damaged freight. Also, keep in mind that while many areas of the U.S. will welcome temperate weather in the summer months, other areas can experience heavy rains, impact from hurricanes and tornados, and severe drought or wildfires – all events that affect transit times.

    Solution: Be extra mindful when scheduling long-haul shipments 

    Planning and being proactive about any potential delays is your best bet for success. Try to avoid shipping over weekends and holidays – most carriers will stay off the road and your freight will be left waiting. By avoiding those blackout dates, you can help protect your freight and also keep your costs low – rates skyrocket for carriers willing to move loads. If your load is liable to deteriorate due to temperature or transit-time related risk, you should always opt for services that can offset those factors. 

    Keep your cool this summer

    Shipping freight in the summer doesn’t need to cause extra headaches and stress – it just requires better planning and a thorough knowledge of your product needs. By selecting the right carrier and equipment, planning for efficiency, and being proactive about truck capacity, you can minimize risk and ensure you’re shipping safely. The freight experts and PartnerShip can help answer any questions about your temperature-controlled loads and help navigate your summer freight successfully.


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  • 3 Smart, Stress-Free Ways You Can Ship Freight to Rural Areas

    06/29/2022 — Jen Deming

    Transporting LTL freight through rural areas is inefficient for the carrier, and can be challenging for you. When you're juggling long transit times, limited service schedules, and tricky accessorials, it can become overwhelming very quickly. Luckily, we've put together some best practices that can help you ship to rural locations, stress-free.


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  • 3 Warning Signs Your Business Needs a Freight Broker

    06/14/2022 — Jen Deming

    3 Warning Signs Your Business Needs a Freight Broker Blog Post

    Managing your growing business can present some unique challenges. On one hand, orders are coming in, your sales are increasing, and your customer base is thriving. The flipside to that success, however, may mean new operational issues that eat up your time and bottom line.

    Shipping freight successfully during this growth period is a stumbling block for many business owners and logistics teams. You may find yourself needing more time and a larger workforce – at some point you may even wonder whether it’s time to outsource help. A freight broker can help manage many of your freight challenges, from overarching issues like lowering costs to tackling day-to-day issues like ensuring delivery accuracy. The bottom line is that you shouldn’t be stressing out more than enjoying the success of your business. If you’re experiencing any of these three signs your business needs a freight broker, it’s time to get the help from the experts .

    Warning Sign #1 – You are making big mistakes when shipping orders 

    More sales is something to celebrate, but trying to keep up with the increase in orders without accommodating the volume is impossible. To make matters worse, packing and shipping is a very detail-oriented business, and rushing to get orders out quickly means an increased chance for error. There’s plenty of opportunity for mistakes that can snowball quickly. 

    Issues such as labeling or paperwork inaccuracies or even quoting errors can quickly escalate and create major problems. For example, something as simple as a wrong address on your freight shipment can, at best, cause delays. That means inconvenienced and aggravated customers. If your customer is paying for shipping, and you’ve quoted the cost incorrectly, you can’t go back and ask for more money – that’s your loss. You need to make sure you’re quoting freight accurately the first time by using exact details and the correct classification.

    Broker Benefit Graphic

    Mistakes like these cost you time and money, as well as customer satisfaction, which is pivotal when you’re a growing business. If you’re seeing shipping errors like those mentioned above, it’s definitely a sign that your business would benefit from a freight broker. A quality freight broker has a dedicated staff of freight experts who can help offer advice and resources on how to tackle the details that trip up many freight shippers. 

    A great freight professional can help you avoid mistakes by assisting with every step of the freight shipping process:

    • Offer guidance on product classification and freight NMFC codes
    • Collect competitive and accurate quotes from carriers who fit your needs
    • Create necessary paperwork for delivery 

    Warning Sign #2 – Your billing department is becoming overwhelmed

    Unless you’re an established, larger-sized business, it’s likely that your employees are juggling several different responsibilities. It’s not uncommon for a business owner to be playing the part of shipping manager and billing specialist to boot. Being burnt out and behind schedule is a pretty clear warning sign your business needs some help from a freight broker.

    When your business is growing, it’s safe to say your shipment volume is increasing, and you may even be shipping with several different carriers or using a variety of services. Managing all of these invoices can be overwhelming, especially when you’re checking for accuracy, meeting payment due dates, and processing claims.

    A freight broker can help simplify the billing process for your freight shipments by acting as an extension of your own team. Most will offer consolidated invoicing which can help cut down on billing chaos. You’ll also benefit from auditing services to double check for errors and savings opportunities. Should you experience damages, your broker can act as your advocate and help navigate the very particular requirements for filing your claim. Relying on these services can help shoulder some of the responsibility that your business just may not have the time or resources to do thoroughly on its own.

    Business Costs graphic

    Warning Sign #3 – Your shipping costs are digging into your bottom line  

    Let’s face it, running a business is expensive, and while more customers mean a greater chance at making a profit, it can also mean that your shipping budget needs to increase. Between packing materials, labor, and freight transportation, these expenses can multiply quickly. 

    It’s key to make sure your freight rates make sense for your growing business. This can be done through carrier discounts and other means like order consolidation or taking a look at what types of LTL service providers work best for your business. Securing discounts and identifying savings opportunities can be challenging, especially if you’re not running a large corporation or shipping huge volumes of freight daily. 

    The great news is that through established carrier relationships and collective buying power, working with a broker can give your business access to higher freight discounts that are typically reserved for higher volume shippers. A quality freight broker will also a conduct cost savings analysis for your business to see where you are overspending on both inbound and outbound shipments. Lastly, they can also quote and compare among carriers to make sure you’re getting competitive pricing to help combat the current freight market.

    Let us help you

    Everyone wants to see their business grow and succeed, but keep in mind that as you do, new challenges will arise along the way. If you’re encountering major freight shipping issues like quoting inaccuracies, invoicing headaches, or rising costs, managing on your own may have run its course. These mistakes are signs that working with a broker may benefit your business, and PartnerShip can help get you started.

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  • 3 Smart Ways to Ship Freight in the City

    05/24/2022 — Jen Deming

    Too much traffic, too few parking options, and an overabundance of air pollution are all obstacles that shippers will encounter when shipping city freight. Before you jump in headfirst, make sure you are brushing up on these key strategies that can help avoid urban shipping headaches.


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  • Ranking the Top 3 Retail Shipping Mistakes

    05/05/2022 — Jen Deming

    Top 3 Shipping Mistakes Blog Post

    Successful retailers have to be next-level multitaskers. However, with so many operating as small businesses, a large portion are running things without a dedicated shipping department. Doing this may be necessary, but it’s easy to make costly mistakes. By looking at what errors are the most important to be wary of, retailers can better sort out the correct way to manage their small package shipping. Let’s take a look at the top three retail shipping mistakes to avoid, starting with #1.

    Mistake 1 - Giving inbound shipment control to your vendors 

    When you’re receiving inbound shipments, oftentimes the shipping is arranged by vendors. This may seem like the easy way to go, but you could be overpaying on each shipment from every vendor, compounding cost and other challenges that may affect your business. When the vendor arranges your shipping, they choose the carrier and control the cost of transportation, making this a very common retail shipping mistake.

    Why choose inbound collect over vendor prepaid?

    Choosing inbound collect shipping over vendor prepaid can give you better control over what you’re spending on your shipments and which carrier is used. You can also control which services your business needs, such as specialized equipment or accessorials like liftgates. Additionally, being invoiced directly by the carrier may eliminate any handling or markup fees your vendor could add into the total charges. 

    PartnerShip can help simplify the process

    While managing your inbound orders may seem like a lot of work, partnering with a 3PL can help reduce the amount of effort you have to put in. A quality 3PL like PartnerShip can provide you with competitive pricing and determine if switching from vendor prepaid to inbound collect makes for your business. Inbound experts at PartnerShip can also help create routing instructions and review and enforce vendor compliance. 

    Mistake 2 - Ignoring DIM weight pricing

    Dimensional (DIM) weight pricing is a strategy implemented by carriers to offset the cost, time, and energy spent on moving large or bulky shipments through the small package network. This pricing structure focuses on the amount of space your shipment takes up in relation to its actual weight. Overlooking the impact of DIM weight pricing on your total costs is a crucial retail shipping mistake.

    Your DIM weight is determined by the dimensions of your shipment. To cut down on time wasted in your already-packed schedule, we have created a DIM weight calculator. If the figure you calculate is higher than your actual weight, then that is what you will be billed on. 

    Luckily, there are some strategies that retailers can use to help limit DIM weight charges:

    • Right-size your packages by minimizing wasted space inside boxes
    • Consolidate orders to reduce the total amount of packages being sent

    ECommerce Shipping Stat

    Why retailers need to be mindful of DIM weight

    Retailers ship a lot of small packages, whether you’re receiving orders from suppliers or shipping purchases out to customers. In fact, a large component of retail sales are comprised of ecommerce. Due to the sheer volume of packages being shipped, costs can multiply rapidly, especially if your packages are subject to DIM weight pricing. Retailers must be strategic about how orders are packaged.

    Mistake 3 - Not taking advantage of shipping discounts

    The worst shipping mistake that retailers can make is assuming the current rates you’re getting are the best available to you. While large retailers may be able to negotiate substantial discounts directly with FedEx or UPS, it’s more challenging for smaller businesses, especially when many of the discounts are based on volume or may just be promotional. 

    Small businesses can succeed

    Smaller retail businesses can still obtain discounts through their affiliations. Trade associations, chambers of commerce, or other organizations will oftentimes offer discounts to businesses. By partnering with a variety of service providers, your membership dues can be offset by the benefits and discounts you receive.

    PartnerShip works with over 130 trade associations and other groups, including several well-known retail organizations, like NSRA and NAMM. By leveraging carrier relationships and industry connections, we help make exclusive FedEx discounts available to retailers, no matter the size of your business or shipping volume.  

    Avoiding mistakes is the first step to successful small package shipping

    Small package shipping can be challenging for any team, especially for smaller retail businesses who may not even have a dedicated shipping department. Retailers must keep in mind that they have a few extra important shipping mistakes to avoid that could cause you to pay more for shipping than necessary.

    No matter the size of your retail business, avoiding these common pitfalls can ensure smooth shipping and lower costs. PartnerShip can help with every one of these challenges, including obtaining competitive pricing. Get in touch with the small package experts at PartnerShip to learn more.

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  • Key Considerations for Shipping High-Value, High Risk Freight

    04/27/2022 — Jen Deming

    If you're shipping high-risk freight, you know that your load is valuable and easily-targeted by cargo thieves.  Understanding which factors can impact the security of your freight is the first step in protecting yourself against theft. In our newest video, we take a look at the three most important variables smart shippers must address to safeguard their high-risk loads and minimize loss.


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  • How to Save on Shipping While Reducing Packaging Waste

    04/11/2022 — Jen Deming

    Packaging Waste Blog

    We love shopping online. Nothing beats the convenience of delivery, variety of product options, and satisfaction of adding things to a virtual cart and clicking ‘buy now’. Unfortunately, the perks of ecommerce do have a flipside - the environmental impact of shipment packaging waste. Ecommerce shipping actually has about four times as many touch-points as regular retail. This means more packing and unpacking individual orders to customers – leading to even more packaging waste. Savvy e-retailers are minimizing their environmental impact by using eco-friendly shipping tactics and by using less wasteful packaging procedures. Even better, reducing your shipment packaging waste is a sustainable practice that is both eco-friendly and a smart way to lower shipping costs, through these three easy tips.

    Online order touchpoint graphicTip 1: Reduce the amount of your packaging 

    If you’re a shrewd retailer, you know that your choice of packaging can protect your product, prevent damage, and enhance the value of your brand through the unboxing experience. But not every product ordered online needs to be shipped within layer upon layer of branded boxes and plastic packaging. Taking a “less is more” approach can help balance both cost and structural integrity, in addition to lowering packaging waste. 

    Box versus mailer graphic

    When you’re considering what types of shipment packaging to use, retailers have a ton of options. Packaging materials include paper, plastic, or chipboard boxes, foil or poly envelopes, bubble mailers, jute, vinyl, or cotton bags, and many other options. Dunnage, or the internal “protective” material inside the shipment can be Styrofoam, cardboard, kraft paper, soft or rigid plastics, and bubble wrap. Each option has its own cost, key benefit, and impact on the environment. Research what types of shipment packaging make the most sense to adequately protect your product, and then eliminate the use of unnecessary extra materials. Always keep in mind that you can reduce your initial cost and environmental impact by choosing simple, but effective shipment packaging that makes sense for your product and consumer.

    Tip 2: Reduce the weight and dimensions of your shipment 

    It’s clear that wasteful packaging procedures can drive up initial costs, but keep in mind that any unnecessary materials can also affect your shipment rates due to weight and density. Your parcel rate is determined in large part by region, distance traveled, and weight. Heavy shipments put more strain on trucks and utilize more fuel when hauling loads. As a result, carriers will charge you more for added weight.Trucking C02 emissions graphic

    Another factor that can affect your shipment cost is dimensional weight. DIM weight pricing is used by carriers to offset the cost of moving large and bulky shipments in their network. This pricing strategy focuses not just on the actual weight, but also the amount of space your shipment takes up. Your DIM weight is determined by the dimensions of your shipment. If the calculated DIM weight is higher than the actual weight, your shipment will be rated on that.

    Elaborate packaging with multiple components inside runs the risk of wasted interior space, so making sure that you right-size your package is important. Ensure that there is no empty space within your shipping box after the product and protective materials are added in. Reducing wasted space within your shipment can lower your final bill, and greatly reduces packaging waste that can be harmful to the environment. 

    Tip 3: Encourage your customer to use your packaging for returns 

    With more people preferring to shop online, the need for convenient returns options increases. Being intentional in how you approach your returns can help lower reverse logistics costs while remaining environmentally conscious.

    Every online shopper knows that preparing to ship a return can be a pain.  No one loves rummaging through a garage of broken-down boxes hoping to find one adequate for use. It’s not as simple as grabbing an empty box - the package must be structurally sound and free of pre-existing labels to avoid hiccups on the road. 

    Do your customers (and yourself) a favor, and make this process even easier by utilizing return-ready packaging for your orders, including resealable boxes, envelopes, and mailers.  Include pre-printed shipping labels with return addresses and packing slips to help make the process even simpler. By providing return-ready packaging, you’re ensuring that the package is right-sized for pre-paid shipping labels and services. As a retailer, you’re taking steps to avoid possible damages or loss by providing packaging options that securely protect your product while in transit. 

    In short, by providing return-ready packaging, you’re taking back control of return shipments by managing several variables that may lead to costly surprises and packaging waste. 

    Reducing packaging waste benefits everyone

    Retailers have a unique opportunity to improve the eco-footprint left by their businesses. Environmentally friendly shipping practices can help lower emissions on the road, reduce packaging waste headed for landfills, and lower costs. To further improve your environmental impact, consider working with a sustainably minded shipping provider, like PartnerShip. We elect to work with carriers that prioritize energy efficiency in trucks and facilities, minimize air-pollution, and offer transparency through data about fuel usage and impact. Optimizing your packaging is a smart place to start – learn how with our downloadable, free white paper.

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  • 5 Freight Broker Benefits You Can’t Afford to Pass Up

    03/23/2022 — Jen Deming

    5 Freight Broker Benefits You Can’t Afford to Pass Up

    If you’re shipping freight, then it’s likely you’ve heard the term ‘freight broker’. But maybe you’ve wondered what they actually do or why you should bother using them. A freight broker acts as an intermediary between a shipper and a carrier - they help shippers find quality transportation providers for their loads. Brokers, also known as 3PLs, can manage every step of the shipping process and help alleviate some work, especially if you’re low on time and manpower. Whether or not you consider yourself a seasoned freight shipper, here are five freight broker benefits that will help level-up your shipping procedures.

    Benefit #1 – Freight brokers offer guidance if you’re just getting started

    If your business needs have shifted recently, and you need to start using services for larger loads, your shipping department may be a little stuck getting past the basics. Stepping up from shipping small packages to shipping freight is an entirely different ball game. Packaging and pricing strategies differ, as well as the amount of work your team needs to put in during loading. Now is the time to look for assistance from experts, because by going in blindly, you may encounter a variety of pitfalls that result in damaged shipments or expensive bills.

    Freight brokers can help get you started off on the right foot by getting to know your business and what you need to ship. They can assist by researching freight classes and determining any special equipment or packaging needs. A great broker can also help with quoting and booking procedures, by scheduling pick-ups and getting all parties any necessary paperwork. After pick-up, they will proactively track your shipment and provide updates, so you can stay on top of your freight’s progress. 

    New freight shippers can be surprised how many checkpoints a load will encounter throughout transit. And with that, how many chances something may go wrong. For issues along the way, such as transit delays, inspections, or missed deliveries, freight brokers can troubleshoot quickly. Fixing these obstacles can take a lot time, a bit of run-around, and quite a few phone calls, so working with a broker can help shippers avoid that stress entirely. Many freight challenges stem from a lack of communication between shippers, consignees, and carriers, so brokers can act as conduit between the three and clear up matters quickly.

    Benefit #2 – Brokers are your inside access to better freight rates

    If you could save money on your freight shipping, you’d do it right? Better prices sound appealing, but it can be hard for small and medium-sized businesses to have enough clout with a carrier to get great discounts. 3PLs have strong shipping volumes, and working alongside one can be that extra boost you need to access better pricing. Freight brokers can both leverage carrier relationships for discounts (passing them on to you), and may have a broader pool of carriers that offer budget-friendly options. 

    To really evaluate where you are at with your freight spend, brokers can also conduct audits on your current procedures. By looking at your past invoices, brokers can identify any areas that you may be spending more than average and check for opportunities to cut costs or increase efficiency. For example, by reviewing accessorial charges like recurring liftgate fees that are being implemented by the carrier, a quality 3PL can help identify potential solutions to eliminate or offset those costs. This may mean suggesting equipment solutions at your warehouse, or looking into alternate carriers who charge less for extra services. There are many ways you can manage your freight budget, but without expert assistance, you may be stuck wasting money while trying to find solutions.

    Benefit #3 – Brokers are your advocates in the case of freight claims

    Freight claims are a dirty word in this business, and a top stressor for any shipper. Should you find yourself in that predicament, however, working with a freight broker can give you a leg up during the claims process. Freight carriers can be difficult to work with – their primary goal is to limit payouts whenever possible. Because there are so many steps and policies you have to follow, it’s best to have an expert on your side who’s done this a few times before.

    A broker can often help set you up for success by making sure you have as many pieces of documentation backing up your claim as possible. They can educate you on the process and make sure you’re submitting the proper paperwork and adhering to any necessary deadlines. A qualified broker can help you understand the differences between carrier liability and freight insurance, and be your advocate during any negotiations and follow-up. 

    Benefit #4 – Freight brokers give you access to more quality carriers

    Freight brokers work with many different carriers, and by using a broker, your pool of shipping options broadens greatly. This is a great benefit on a variety of levels. For example, if you’re experiencing consistent issues like damages, timeliness, and reliability with one of your carriers, having access to some new options could be just what you need to eliminate the problem. 

    With the worldwide freight crisis hanging overhead, it’s also a smart move to have as many carrier options available as possible. Many shippers have found it challenging to secure a quality carrier that meets their needs and budget. The more options you have, the more likely your freight is going to be picked-up and delivered on time. 

    Benefit #5 – If you’re stumped on a load, they’ve got options

    Freight brokers are experts at putting out fires - they’ve seen it all. If you have a shipment that needed to be delivered yesterday, brokers can help navigate expedited options that balance service level and budget needs. Or maybe your load needs a specialized piece of equipment like a box truck or flatbed. A freight broker will be able to quickly access a large pool of carriers to ensure you have the coverage you need. For any kind of tricky freight loads, a quality broker can help guide you through the process. 

    The case for using a freight broker

    Gaining the benefits associated with working alongside a freight broker can be a game-changer for your business. The ins-and-outs of freight shipping can be complicated, and while you can try to navigate them on your own, it’s always better to have an expert on your side. PartnerShip can help guide your team and help answer any questions you may have on whether working with a broker is right for your business.

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  • Record High Diesel Prices Will Affect Your Freight Costs

    03/09/2022 — Leah Palnik

    Truck driving on highway

    It’s been hard to miss the high gas prices at the pump and the headlines about the rising cost of crude oil. Not only does this affect the average American driver, but this also has a large impact on the drivers moving our freight. In fact, the national average for on-highway diesel fuel has shot up to the highest it’s ever been since the U.S. Energy Information Administration started tracking the prices in 1994.

    The cost of doing business just got a lot more expensive for trucking companies, and that will be reflected in your freight rates. We’re currently seeing fuel surcharges as high as 42% with some of our carriers. While it’s a hard pill to swallow, this is something to keep in mind and budget for.

    As for how long you can expect fuel surcharges to be high, that’s hard to say. Many experts note that even when oil prices start to go back down, gas and diesel prices aren’t likely to fall as quickly as they’ve risen.

    To learn more about the record high diesel prices, check out this article on Overdrive.

    If you're curious about how oil prices drive the cost of gasoline and diesel, check out this segment from Marketplace.

    It’s more important than ever to work with a freight broker. Our team is available to help you find the best rate for your freight and help you navigate through logistics challenges. Contact us to consult with one of our shipping experts.


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  • Why Carriers Hate Difficult Freight and How to Fix It

    02/18/2022 — Jen Deming

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    Have you ever thought about whether your LTL freight loads are worthwhile for the carrier? Your freight shipments must be worth the amount of effort that’s invested in moving them. If the payoff isn’t there, your loads will be regarded as “difficult freight”.  This can lead to declined loads, infrequent pick-ups, or a tense relationship with your carrier. To get your freight prioritized, the first step is determining whether you have difficult freight, then taking the steps needed to become a shipper of choice. 

    Reason 1: Your pick-up or delivery location is tough to access

    One way to determine whether your freight is cringeworthy can be as simple as walking through the door of your business and scanning the surrounding lot. Ask yourself, are my freight pick-ups a pain to complete? Maybe you don’t even have a lot, but your business is located on a side street or an alley in the city. A standard LTL dry van being dispatched by the carrier is 52 feet long, which definitely takes skill to maneuver safely. If your business location is in a challenging place, such as a cramped area that restricts maneuverability or doesn’t have a dock, pick-up is tough for the driver to complete. 

    On the other hand, maybe you have the space to maneuver, but it’s such a rural location that the carrier only services the area infrequently. If you’re in an isolated region that doesn’t have many other local businesses moving freight, the work to payoff ratio is pretty unbalanced. Either way, carriers have a term for these hard-to-reach locations. High-traffic metropolitan areas, remote construction zones, and extremely rural regions all fall within the definition of limited access.

    The best thing you can do to avoid this particular pitfall is to create as much flexibility as possible for the carrier. You might not be able to move your business, but if the physical location of your pick-up has some structural challenges, you need to communicate that to the carrier beforehand. Informing the carrier allows them to plan for the proper equipment, such as dispatching a smaller box truck for arrival. If you can swing it with your warehouse team, consider shipping to or from a freight terminal, rather than your business. Busy freight terminals are located in desirable geographic areas that you know the carrier will visit regularly. This helps ensure your shipment gets moving and will spare you extra limited access fees. 

    Reason 2: Your freight is a prohibited commodity

    Want to know another reason that your shipment may be marked as “difficult freight”? The commodity you are shipping may be prohibited by the carrier. This is usually due to liability, governmental regulations, or company policy. The act of prohibiting certain items exists for two main reasons: 

    High risk/high value - These types of products can be difficult to put an exact value on, or may be easily damaged or stolen. Commodities include bank bills, credit cards, gold or precious stones, currency, original artwork, furs, or other high-value items. Your chosen carrier may be willing to accept certain items, but you must prove you have the appropriate insurance coverage.  

    Regulated – These shipments may be excluded due to government regulation or may be hazardous in nature. This may also include perishable items that require controlled storage requirements. Items in this category include aerosols, chemicals, assembled guns, alcohol, combustible materials, hazardous materials, and live plants and animals.

    So, since this type of “difficult freight” can include so many different commodities, what can you do? Your first goal should be to learn just how your carrier views these products. Evaluate your carrier’s terms and conditions  before you even start planning your pick-up. Restricted or prohibited items will be listed there, as well as any liability and claims information. Inspections regularly occur during transit, so if you aren’t sure if you’re safe, call the carrier and find out their policy.

    If you are consistently moving these types of risky shipments, make sure that you are working with carriers that are properly certified. Many carriers specialize in these types of loads, so you can ensure your shipments are moving safely and legally. For some types of cargo there may be state-mandated regulations, as in the case of transporting alcohol. Be sure to have the proper permits and to adhere to the necessary policies. Any type of shipment that has restrictions will likely have very specific packaging requirements and requisite paperwork.  

    Reason 3: Your warehouse hours don’t mesh with the carrier

    Maybe the location of your business isn’t the thing preventing a carrier’s arrival, but your facility’s operating hours are what create further problems. Due to the nature of certain establishments, arrival times may be heavily policed or limited. Places like schools, prisons, or storage facilities often have restricted hours for arrival and loading – and sometimes they’re after a carrier’s business hours. 

    All a driver wants to do is arrive onsite, get loaded quickly, and then to get back on the road. Having to work around odd hours can complicate the daily schedule. To make matters worse, some locations may require an appointment for arrival. If you have a small loading window that requires the driver to stick to a very fixed schedule, this is going to present some issues. Traffic issues or detours can throw off an entire day’s work. If a driver arrives just short of the appointment time, the shipment may need to be put back on the board for the next day.

    Create flexibility in your loading hours whenever possible. If you must require delivery appointments, make sure your loading team is efficient and organized so that you don’t run over. Allowing weekend arrivals, extended hours for pick-ups, and having a team “on call” can greatly reduce the stress a driver will experience and boost the chances the carrier will work with you again.

    Reason 4: Your reputation proceeds you 

    When you are auditing carriers, and measuring up how well they’re working out for you, realize that carriers are doing the same thing. With capacity as limited as it is, freight carriers want to work with customers who have their shipping processes down pat and are pleasant to do business with. If you are anything but that, they will take their business elsewhere.

    One major disruption for carriers is the subject of detention. Carriers usually allot two hours for loading, and any time it takes over that is considered detention. Detention holds up drivers, wasting time and preventing them from moving on to the next load. It’s pricey too, as most carriers will pass on a detention fee to offenders. Keep in mind, drivers are not going to help you load your cargo. Some may assist, but be warned, that will rack up some hefty fees too.

    In order to avoid these fees and stay in good graces with the carrier, you need to have a well-trained and efficient warehouse team that also has the proper loading equipment. If you don’t have a dock for loading, that’s okay, but you should have a forklift or another alternative ready and working at pick-up. 

    Be helpful and accommodating to the driver. Amenities like accessible parking options, a comfortable resting area, and food and coffee will be greatly appreciated by the driver. Keep in mind, when it comes to difficult freight, your reputation is the one factor you can truly control. Becoming a shipper of choice takes planning and a little bit of thoughtfulness, but it goes a long way in helping the carrier look forward to your loads.

    Reason 5: Your business has above average claim submissions 

    It probably seems pretty obvious, but if you’re submitting a lot of claims, the carrier is going to be wary of your cargo. Freight claims cause headaches for everyone involved. While the burden of proof is on the shipper to prove carrier negligence, claims submissions take a lot of time, research, and possibly loss of revenue for the carrier. Whether you win the claim or not, damage and loss claims mean the carrier will think twice about moving your shipments.

    If your company has a history of damages, your freight carrier is going to evaluate a few risk factors. It may be possible that you are shipping extraordinarily fragile, or perishable, commodities that create a lot of risk. For example, a landscaping business shipping live plants may want to use LTL services for smaller freight loads. While possible, doing so is hazardous. Any delays in shipments or extra handling may cause an above-average risk to the integrity of the product. 

    The other issue may be with your packaging. A business that is shipping built furniture may experience increased risk of damage to their product. Custom crating your product can help avoid some damages, but the risk may still be too high, and standard carriers may decline to move your loads at all.

    If you are shipping any sort of fragile or high-risk shipment, your first step should be to perfect your packaging procedures. It may be costly to invest in custom packaging, but using standard pallets and shrink wrap is not going to be enough to protect your freight. It’s more important to consider whether specialty shipping services may be the right option for your cargo. White glove shipping services can be pricey, but they prioritize safe handling and security. Refrigerated options or even using dedicated truckload services will limit the handling of your product, and may speed up transit as an added benefit.

    Reason 6: Seasonality is shifting carrier priorities

    During certain times of the year, there are huge spikes in available freight shipments for carriers to move. Depending on the industry, these periods vary by region and season, and sometimes there may be some cross-over. Some examples include produce season in places like Florida, the Midwest, and California, construction season in the spring, or nationwide during the winter holiday season. Because there are so many available loads to choose from, carriers will prioritize the loads that, you guessed it, have the highest payoff for minimal effort.

    If you’re shipping during these busy seasons, you need to be flexible. LTL rates will go up and transit times will increase. You should always be practical about your budget, but consider the long-term goal. It’s not the time to tighten the belt on your budget during busy seasons - aim to lower costs year-round so that you have room when you need it. Since transit times will be longer, consolidating loads whenever possible will decrease your overall risk for late deliveries. Expanding your pool of carriers by working with a freight broker will increase the likelihood your shipment gets moved. As always, make your freight as appealing as possible so that when carriers are frazzled by the seasonal onslaught, they can count on your shipments to be fast and easy.

    Make difficult freight a thing of the past

    Nobody wants to be seen as a “problem shipper”, but the good news is that with time, and a little foresight, you can turn the situation around. It all starts with putting yourself in the carrier’s shoes. Would you want to work with your business? It’s your responsibility to make your cargo desirable, and encourage a strong relationship with your carrier. PartnerShip can help, by guiding your business to make the right choices for your loads, and connecting you with the right carriers who want to move your freight.


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  • 6 Surefire Ways You Can Overcome Freight Capacity Challenges

    01/18/2022 — Jen Deming

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    Sometimes, it’s just hard to find a truck. With a capacity crunch that’s been ongoing for as long as we can remember, the struggle to get your LTL loads covered is old news. But, it’s still relevant news. In fact, it seems like things are projected to get even tougher as more freight enters the network. So, while the capacity challenges continue, how can you get your loads covered without breaking the bank?

    Why are there capacity challenges?

    First, it’s important to understand why capacity is so tight in the first place. It all boils down to an oversaturated freight network – there’s simply not enough trucks on the road available to move every existing freight load. More money is being spent on goods than services, we’re looking at a 6% year over year growth in demand, and this shift in consumer spending is really tightening things up. While the trend has existed for years, the effects of COVID further propelled a push in consumer spending. Due to a diminished staff, freight is being held up within transit at distribution centers and terminals. All of these factors create the perfect storm that make it harder to find trucks for your freight

    Why should you care?

    While the effects of a capacity crunch can seem pretty obvious, there may be more challenges than you expect. The immediate issue is getting your freight shipment covered at all. LTL freight carriers are becoming more particular about the loads they want to move and locations they want to visit. Pick-ups may be infrequent, and if your shipment is particularly challenging, like oversized, for example, it may be refused. 

    Transit times are becoming longer, with 87.9% of shippers reporting a delay in deliveries. Some carriers are also suspending or amending time-critical and guaranteed options. Base rates are higher than ever before, and LTL carriers are now charging detention fees in some cases when loading is delayed. This accessorial fee is typically just associated with truckload shipping, but with a driver’s time being a vital commodity, carriers are pushing back and using it for LTL shipments as well.

    What Can You Do to Overcome Capacity Challenges?

    1. Expand your current network

      One of the first things you should do to increase the odds that your freight will get covered, is taking a hard look at your current carrier options to see where you can improve or expand. Conducting a freight audit can help determine if your business needs are truly being met. Look for reoccurring challenges like missed pick-ups or high accessorial fees. Some carriers may visit locations where demand isn’t as high only one or two times a week, which can create a big issue with your shipping schedule. Accessorials like limited access can vary by carrier and it’s possible the one you are currently using may be charging more than a competitor carrier would. Exploring alternative carriers to review service levels and pricing is a great place to start. If you are finding several carriers that may fit your needs, keep them on file so you can rate shop between them and choose accordingly as back-ups.

    2. Build in extra time for everything
    3. Time is the name of the game in shipping. One of the smartest things that you can do to combat freight capacity challenges is building in extra time at every step of the shipping process. When you get an idea of a project or order you will be working on, start quoting as soon as you know details. If you have reoccurring orders for an established customer, approach carriers with the opportunity to explore contract pricing and get commitments for the length of the project. Carriers are looking for reliable, predictable loads that are going to guarantee business while creating minimal headaches. If you can prove your business can meet these expectations, they are going to be even more willing to commit for the long-haul. An added bonus - they are likely to negotiate terms and better pricing for your business as well. Packing and staging your shipments early so that they are ready for pick-up and will be loaded smoothly is going to go a long way in the eyes of the arriving carrier.

    4. Review alternative services for applicable shipments
    5. While choosing alternative freight services for your loads won’t always work to combat freight capacity issues, it’s a valid option for certain shipments. If you have a large LTL shipment that could benefit from truckload services, this could be a great back up choice. Using a dedicated truck can increase security, minimize damage, and expedite your transit. 

      While truckload moves typically consist of 8-10 pallets or more, some truckload carriers will offer a partial option where your load will share space with another shipper’s freight. This can add some perks of truckload shipping like added security, while benefitting from a more competitive price than paying for the entire truck. It’s important to note, however, that in partial truckload shipping, it’s possible your shipment may encounter delays due to the other customer on board. Depending on the order of delivery, you may end up waiting on the first delivery location if they don’t have everything in order. Building in extra time is still a good tactic to take here, but knowing you have alternative freight service options for your larger shipments is good to know if you are in a crunch.

    6. Consolidate your shipments
    7. The less often you ship, the less you risk not finding a truck for your loads. By consolidating your freight shipments, you create an efficient way of both lowering costs and ensuring you have LTL truck coverage. It may take a bit of communication and working with your customers, but reworking replenishment schedules so that you’re shipping larger, less frequent loads can be a smart long-term strategy. Moving your shipping to off-peak periods, if possible, also takes extra stress off of a carrier network that is already stretched thin. This not only allows for increased truck availably, but it also helps you avoid seasonal closures that will affect your shipments.

      When receiving inbound orders, collaborative distribution is also an option. Collaborative distribution combines vendor orders from different shippers at one common distribution center and channels them into a single-truck delivery. This option is a type of consolidation, but happens much earlier in the supply chain. Finding the balance between identifying which shipments can be consolidated over a more flexible length of time while meeting delivery deadlines and customer expectations is key.

    8. Utilize regional carrier options
    9. Most shippers are familiar with the large, recognizable national freight carriers, but regional freight carriers can also be a great option for coverage. Regional carriers specialize in concentrated geographic areas, usually within state-lines or city locales. In addition to adding them as options within your existing freight network, there are important advantages to working with regional carriers. Regional carriers have in-depth knowledge and first-hand experience navigating these areas on a daily basis and can speak to potential challenges like traffic trends or limited access issues. While a national carrier may be unfamiliar with these hang-ups, a regional driver’s knowledge of the area means increased transparency with the shipper regarding these obstacles, so precautions can be taken. 

      Oftentimes, regional carriers charge less for the same services that national carriers do. Regional carriers don’t have delivery area surcharges and costs for liftgates and accessorial fees are lower. Because regional carriers travel shorter distances, expedited or guaranteed services are generally less expensive, as well. 

      Finally, because these are smaller companies, they tend to offer more personalized solutions that emphasize customer experience. Relationships with these carriers tend to be less transactional, and place importance on problem resolution and service. Adding a regional carrier to the pool is an underutilized and potentially game-changing way to ensure your LTL loads are getting covered.

    10. Become a shipper of choice

      Want to know a surefire way to combat freight capacity issues? Become a shipper of choice. This means to do everything possible to leverage your relationships with carriers to make your shipments as desirable as possible. The freight load itself, your location, and your business practices combined should create an easy, efficient, and positive experience for the carrier.

      A good way to start is making sure your shipping location is set up for easy navigation. Signs and directional assistance, communication, and a safe, clear dock location are all things drivers look out for. Flexible delivery times and plentiful parking options help eliminate some extra stress for the driver, as well. Above all else, doing what you can to eliminate potential detention time is critical. Staged shipments that are primed and waiting with a well-trained and ready-to-go loading team help ensure the truck will be loaded within the 2-hour limit. That way, the driver can get back on the road to the next location with minimal delay. Nurturing these carrier relationships by improving the experience for the driver is important, and it matters. When there’s lots of freight waiting to be picked up nationwide, be the one that the carrier wants most.

    Final thoughts



    Freight capacity is a challenge, and it’s not changing any time soon. The best thing that you can do is create a plan of action that tackles these challenges before you have freight waiting on the dock. Working with a 3PL like PartnerShip can help audit your current shipping procedures and identify areas of improvement that go beyond getting your loads covered. Contact our freight experts to help get your freight where it needs to go.

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  • 5 Foolproof Ways to Take on Manufacturing Shipping Challenges

    01/11/2022 — Jen Deming

    5 Foolproof Ways to Take On Manufacturing Shipping Challenges

    The manufacturing industry is vital to our economy, but producing components and materials is just the first step in the fulfillment process. Manufacturers have to make sure products are shipped efficiently, arrive on time, and don’t experience damage. In addition to rising costs and other issues we’ve seen across all industries, manufacturers face a unique set of logistics obstacles. You may be shipping large, fragile shipments that are expensive and hard to handle. Services and equipment needs can vary day-to-day, so it’s important to find the right shipping solutions that meet your specific needs. Read on to learn five foolproof ways to take on manufacturing shipping challenges.

    1. Prioritize the safety of your loads

      Manufacturers ship a wide variety of commodities, from small parts and components, to fully-assembled heavy machinery. For any-sized load, you need to take the safety and security of your shipments into consideration in order to limit damage and other issues. Start with regularly auditing your parcel and freight carriers to ensure their service levels meet your business expectations. Spec out your shipping safety “need to haves,” such as security during transit, carrier reputation, and damage statistics. Keep track of what’s working, as well as any issues you are experiencing with current carriers. If they aren’t making the cut, do some research. Who do your customers and colleagues prefer working with and why? Try out new carrier options and look into alternate service levels that may better offset your shipping challenges. Most importantly, ensure that your preferred carriers are communicated to your shipping department and warehouse team as well as any outside parties such as suppliers who may be arranging your shipping.

      Because security is of the utmost importance, ensure that your packaging is perfected, whether you are shipping small parts via parcel services or large freight orders. You should use quality materials and keep some basics in mind:

      • Don’t reuse packaging to ensure structural integrity
      • Limit extra space to avoid shifting and breakage during transit
      • Use pallet wrap to keep loose components together
      • When shipping assembled machinery, consider using custom crates rather than pallets

    2. Double-down on service options that encourage timely delivery

      Manufacturing any type of product typically involves several different parties who tackle specific steps during fabrication, from start to finished product. If anything goes wrong logistically during that process, it can disrupt the entire supply chain and lead to more shipping challenges. It’s crucial that your business is utilizing shipping providers and services that prioritize timely, expedient delivery. 

      Both FedEx and UPS offer different service levels depending on the urgency of your parcel shipment. If you’re in a crunch, FedEx can help make a speedy delivery with options like FedEx Priority Overnight® or FedEx 2Day A.M®. UPS also offers expedited services, such as UPS Express Critical® and UPS Next Day Air®. 

      If you have a true freight emergency, take a look at estimated transit times between carriers and their services. It’s probably not the time to use low-cost or asset-light carriers, as they typically have longer transit times. Many LTL freight carriers offer time critical, expedited, and guaranteed options. Just-in-time delivery options can also ensure your shipments are delivered as soon as possible. Because these services often use dedicated trucks or air/ground solutions to maximize efficiency, they can be pricey. Be mindful of your budget, and stay on top of any emergencies when you can. If expedited services are necessary, make sure you quote with several carriers and explore all options in order to keep costs low.

    3. Confirm your freight class before you ship

      Manufacturing businesses ship diverse products or commodities to any number of delivery locations. Whether your business is in the field of precision medical equipment, mold builders, automotive engineering, or any other specialty field, a major manufacturing shipping challenge is being an expert on your products’ specific freight class and NMFC codes.

      The challenge with not knowing these codes can affect everything from your total freight cost to the result of any claims filed. A common mistake many shippers make is using an outdated or blanket NMFC or class code. For example, the ‘machinery’ group NMFC code is 11400. There are over fifty major categories that specify exactly what type of machinery, and they range anywhere from class 55 to 500. That’s hundreds of dollars difference in a final bill. The class for your specific shipment is determined not only by the product itself, but also density, dimensions and weight, packaging type, whether it’s assembled or in parts, and other factors. On top of that, these designations and codes are updated regularly. If you haven’t shipped this product very recently, you need to check it again, especially if any packaging specs have changed.

      In the event that you enter the incorrect class code on your BOL, your freight will likely be flagged by the carrier. This will lead to an inspection, and some additional fees that are going to both inflate your bill and delay your delivery. Because freight class can be complicated, especially for manufacturers, it’s important to have more than a basic understanding of how LTL freight rates are determined. If you have any trouble finding the most accurate class code for your shipment, and you probably will, don’t hesitate to call the carrier or work with a freight broker who can help you.

    4. Make sure the value of your load is covered 

      Damage is a huge concern, especially based on the types of products being shipped. Freight shipping involves tons of handling and frequent stops at terminals. As a result, it’s probably not a matter of if, but when, you’ll get hit with damages. We don’t want to jinx your shipment, but let’s explore the event that your load encounters some damages or loss while on the road. 

      Freight damage is frustrating from the start because it’s expensive, can hold up the fulfillment of an order, and potentially complicate relationships with your customers. Because many manufacturers’ shipments are extra fragile, hard to maneuver, and worth a lot of money, the problem can be compounded. It’s the shipper’s responsibility to prove the carrier is at fault if damage occurs, and frankly, a freight carrier will do everything they can to avoid responsibility. Even if you do win a claim and receive reimbursement, there are limits to carrier liability coverage and payouts. They may not meet the entire value of your load.

      To avoid extra headaches, make sure that you have your own freight insurance that will fully cover the value of your load. It also does not require that you prove the carrier is at fault for damage or loss, just that the damage occurred. While there is an extra charge for the insurance, it’s usually based on the declared value of your freight, and it is extremely worthwhile should damage occur.

    5. Use a freight provider that offers custom shipping solutions

      There’s not always enough time in the day or people in your shipping department to stay on top of the many manufacturing shipping challenges. Let’s face it, a one-size-fits-all approach is not going to work for an industry that has to constantly reinvent itself and adapt to consumer needs, tech advancements, and other changes. A third-party freight provider can help identify the unique needs of your business, without cutting any corners. 

      Cutting costs is always at the top of the priorities list, and taking a fresh look at your shipping procedures can be a fruitful place to start. A 3PL can help leverage carrier relationships and buying power to acquire better shipping discounts for your business. PartnerShip is connected to many manufacturing and industrial trade associations, like NTMA and PMPA. As a benefit provider to members, PartnerShip helps manufacturing businesses save on shipping costs with competitive rates with carriers who prioritize safety and better shipment handling. 

      Working with a freight provider can take on several of your shipping challenges at once.

      • Conducting carrier audits for better pricing and service. 
      • Managing claims and acting as your advocate, by touching base with carriers and making sure proper documentation is in order.
      • Determining if and when you may need to use expedited freight services, and helping to quote and schedule your day-to-day shipments.
      • Finding special equipment options that will balance cost and safety if you have an extra special load.

    Turn your manufacturing shipping challenges into full-scale improvements

    There are a lot of shipping obstacles to keep track of, and they can be a burden to navigate. Depending on your business size, your budget, and the time you have available, it’s not always possible to become an expert on your own. PartnerShip has the experience and proficiency to help take on your greatest shipping challenges, so you can get back to business. Download our all-encompassing guide to freight claims to learn more about how you can effectively resolve a top shipping obstacle for manufacturers.  


    Freight Claims White Paper

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  • 2021 Year-End Planning for Your FedEx and UPS Shipments

    11/15/2021 — Leah Palnik

    2021 Year-End Planning for Your FedEx and UPS Shipments

    The end of the year is usually pretty hectic for a lot of businesses, but 2021 is proving to be one for the books. As you navigate the holiday season and prepare for the year ahead, you’ll want to heed our warnings for your FedEx and UPS parcel shipments.

    Ship early
    We can’t stress this enough. Delays are becoming more common and will likely get worse the closer we get to Christmas. The FedEx and UPS networks are very strained right now. Fueled by the pandemic and all of its ripple effects, demand for parcel services is at an all-time high. Both FedEx and UPS have suspended service guarantees for their ground services and some of their air/express services, which means you can’t leave things up to chance. Ship early and build in plenty of extra time where you can so you don’t run into major disruptions.

    Review holiday shipping deadlines
    For retailers, this is especially important. As customers place their orders for holiday gifts, they’ll want to know that they’ll receive them before the big day. FedEx and UPS have released their shipping deadlines, so make sure to review them and plan accordingly. That way you’ll be able to manage expectations appropriately and keep your customers happy.

    Prepare for the 2022 rate increases
    Don’t sleep on the fact that after you make it through the holiday season, your FedEx and UPS rates will be going up. Both carriers announced that they will be increasing their rates by an average of 5.9%. It’s tempting to take that announced average and budget for your costs to go up by that much, but unfortunately it’s not that simple.

    How much your rates will go up in the new year will largely depend on which services you use, your package characteristics, and where you’re shipping to/from. That 5.9% average also doesn’t account for surcharges which can drive up your costs even more. If this all sounds like a major analysis that you don’t have the time to conduct, you’re not alone. That’s why we’ve reviewed the updated rate charts for you. Download our free guide to see a full analysis of what you can expect.

    The Essential Guide to the 2022 FedEx and UPS Rate Increases.

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  • Types of LTL Carriers and When You Need Them

    11/10/2021 — Jen Deming

    Working with a less-than-truckload (LTL) carrier is a great way to move your larger, palletized loads efficiently and often with some cost-saving benefits when compared to other services. But, even within the LTL service category, there are a few different business models - each offering a different mix of security, speed, and cost. Understanding the benefits of each will help you choose what works best for your business.


    Types of LTL Carriers Infographic.


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  • Freight Carrier Closures for the 2021 Holiday Season

    11/03/2021 — Jen Deming

    2021 Freight Carrier Closures Blog

    2021 has been another challenging year. The freight market continues to be oversaturated with available loads while simultaneously suffering from a capacity crisis. Transit times are delayed, so to ensure timely delivery (you can't count on eight tiny reindeer), you must plan ahead and create a flexible shipping schedule. You'll also need to be mindful of carrier closure dates. We've compiled a list to keep on hand when you're executing your holiday shipping strategy.

    Freight carrier closures

    • Saia LTL Freight - will be closed November 25-26, December 23-24, and December 31.
    • YRC Freight – will be closed November 25-26, December 24, and December 31.
    • XPO Logistics – will be closed November 25-26, December 23-24, and December 31.
    • ArcBest – will be closed November 25-26, and December 24.
    • R+L Carriers – will be closed November 25-26, December 24, and December 31.
    • Estes – will be closed November 25-26, and December 24.
    • Dayton Freight – will be closed November 25-26, December 23-24, and December 31.
    • PittOhio – will be closed November 25-26, December 23-24, and December 31.
    • AAA Cooper – will be closed November 25-26, December 23-24, and December 31.
    • TForce Freight - will be closed November 25-26, December 23-24, and December 31.

    Santa has his elves, you have a team at PartnerShip

    With extra challenges facing your business this year, keep in mind that the freight experts at PartnerShip can help you successfully manage your holiday shipping. Our office will be closed November 25-26, December 24, and December 31 so that we can spend time with our families. Happy Holidays!


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  • 7 Strategies to Conquer Peak Season Returns

    10/25/2021 — Jen Deming

    7 Strategies to Conquer Peak Season Returns

    Shipping during the holidays can be a quite a challenge. Getting packages delivered on time is tough enough, but peak season returns can be an even greater headache. Return shipping is just a part of the retail experience, but with proper planning it is possible to control. Review these seven strategies before you create that plan to help to ensure a more seamless process for your peak season returns.

    Strategy #1: Commit to full transparency regarding your return policy

    When you think about your own shopping preferences, it becomes clear that reviewing a return policy before purchase is standard procedure. This is especially important if your peak season return policy is different than the rest of the year. Shoppers want to know what they’re getting into before they click “place my order.” When a retailer makes return information easily accessible, the buyer is more likely to make a purchase because there is less risk. 

    Proactively communicate the policy in places like order confirmations and follow-up emails. It’s also key to stay in contact during all stages of the buying process. Send order tracking links in emails, send delivery notifications, and create a clear FAQ section on your website that includes contact options. The more information you have readily available for customers, the more confident your buyers will be.

    Strategy #2: Optimize your packaging procedures

    Shipment volume is alarmingly high, and will be compounded during the holidays. During peak times, your packages will spend more time in transit and encounter more stops along the way. That means more handling at service terminals, which can result in added damages. Take a hard look at your return rates related to damaged shipments. If you’re seeing an above-average trend, consider whether your packaging procedures need to be adjusted. It may make sense to use boxes rather than mailers, for example. Minimizing extra space and adding more bubble wrap or packing foam can better protect your products. If you’re sending out large items, consider breaking them down for transit rather than shipping them assembled. Don’t underestimate how much your packaging can affect your return rate due to damages. 

    Strategy #3: Limit returns that are caused by late deliveries

    There are always last-minute holiday shoppers — you might even know a few. Late deliveries often lead to returns during the peak season, since they didn’t arrive in time for the big date. Ensure that you make it very clear for customers what the cutoff dates are for their order to be shipped in time for Christmas. An easy-to-scan reference table of this information will help your shoppers avoid late arrivals. 

    To determine those cutoff dates, be sure to review the deadlines published by your carrier. You may also want to add in some buffer days in case of any unforeseen delays. During the peak season when demand is high, unfortunately there can be a higher risk of your orders not being delivered in time. 

    Make sure you’re also offering expedited options at check-out, to provide a solution for shoppers who need a quicker turnaround. For serious stragglers, offer in-store pick-up if you have a brick-and-mortar option. 

    Strategy #4: Improve your returns plan by auditing your process yearly

    It’s never a good idea to assume this year’s peak season returns strategy should be the same as last year. Every year, your returns plan and options need to be reviewed. Your first step should be to take a look at your returns rate and the reasons for the returns. Find out whether items are being returned due to product performance, or other issues like damages or late delivery. If it turns out that you have a shipping issue, make sure you’re following our tips mentioned above. 

    After you take care of any shipping challenges, look at what returns options measure up with what you can feasibly afford. Free shipping of any kind is a perk, but you need to be mindful of your budget and compensate for that expense. Consider a flexible policy, such as free returns on full-price items, or within a certain window of time. Think about charging for delivery, but keeping returns free. When you’re reviewing whether these options will fit your budget, don’t forget to check carrier rate changes and peak surcharges, both of which affect your shipping costs. From there, you can adjust your returns plan as-needed. 

    Strategy #5: Consider on-demand warehousing to simplify orders and returns

    The overhead costs involved in setting up and maintaining a warehouse are expensive. Due to the cyclical nature of the industry, many retailers don’t find it worth it to use in-house solutions. On-demand warehousing is a great opportunity for businesses that need short-term fulfillment options but don’t want to be under contract. This strategy helps increase flexibility by housing inventory only when needed. If you have seasonal inventory overflow, on-demand options can help eliminate long-term commitments. For businesses that do not need a warehouse year-round, on-demand warehousing is the way to go. 

    Strategy #6 Give your customers a variety of return options

    Consumers want return options that fit into their busy lives. Don’t complicate the relationship you have with your customers by making an already disappointing situation even worse. Offer methods that fit preferences and convenience, such as a choice to return product online and in-store. In-store returns give retailers more facetime with the customer and offer a better chance of turning the transaction into an exchange. However, many shoppers want the convenience and time-saving choice of shipping back their order. Consider using carriers like FedEx that allow drop offs at a variety of locations, including FedEx Ship Centers, drop-off boxes, Office Depot, Walgreens, and more.

    Strategy #7 Make shipping peak season returns as easy as possible for your customer

    While you probably want to avoid returns as often as possible, don’t try to dodge them completely by making the process super complicated. Smart retailers know that they cannot always be avoided — the ultimate goal is to use returns as an opportunity to increase brand satisfaction. Remind your customer of your returns and replacement policy throughout the buying process. Include return information on your order confirmation page and within follow up emails. Choose secure packaging that can be reused if needed, and include labels and instructions for returns with the product you’re shipping out. Think long-term — customers that have a bad experience with a retailer this year, will actively avoid them in the future. Making returns easy creates a positive buying experience, and increases confidence for both you and the customer.

    Putting the strategies into action

    Retail and peak season returns go hand-in-hand. They aren’t ideal, but if you know how to prepare, manage, and use them to your advantage, your business can thrive during the holidays. PartnerShip has strong relationships with a variety of retail groups, and we are uniquely positioned to help strategize your returns process in a way that works best for your business. From on-demand warehouse solutions to saving money on the costs of returns, we can help make your holiday season a success.

    Contact Us Today


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  • 4 Ways to Ruin Your Holiday Shipping

    10/18/2021 — Jen Deming

    Parcel shipping during the holidays is tough. From inventory mismanagement to carrier delays, there are plenty of obstacles that can get in the way of a seamless holiday shipping experience. In our newest video, we take a look at the four mistakes that can absolutely sabotage your peak season shipping.





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  • Decoding the Most Common FedEx and UPS Surcharges

    10/11/2021 — Jen Deming

    FedEx and UPS Surcharges Blog Image

    Taking a deep dive into your invoice from FedEx or UPS is a smart move for any shipper. But, once you dig into your statement line by line, chances are you’ll see extra charges that may puzzle you. Those unexpected fees are likely shipping surcharges - costs added to your base price by the carrier. 

    Though undeniably complicated, it’s important to have a basic understanding of the surcharges your carrier of choice, FedEx or UPS, may apply to your shipment. The more you know about surcharge types and how they impact your bill, the better you can manage your costs. Taking a look at the most common and costly FedEx and UPS surcharges is a great way to become familiar with what you may see on your bill.

    Oversized surcharges

    When it comes to parcel shipping, oversized shipment charges often lead the way in expensive fees. Ecommerce has led to larger and more irregular-sized shipments in their networks, and both FedEx and UPS implement pricing strategies to offset the extra costs associated with it. Surcharges related to shipment size and specifications are a way to combat packages that could be transported using another service, like LTL freight. These fees are based on both size and weight limits, and vary between carrier. 

    FedEx and UPS charge different amounts for these fees, though both can be well into the hundreds of dollars. Even more importantly, the definition of what is considered “oversized” can change and the amount charged increases annually at the very least.

    FedEx has three separate fees for larger shipments, and each has a different set of criteria.

    • Oversized – Applies if your package exceeds 96 inches in length or 130 inches in length and girth combined.
    • Unauthorized – Applies if your package exceeds 108 inches in length, 165 inches in length and girth combined, or 105 pounds in weight.
    • Additional Handling – Applies if your package exceeds 48 inches in length, 30 inches in width, and 105 inches in length and girth combined; or if your packages weighs more than 50 pounds (domestic) or 70 pounds (international).

    UPS also charges fees based on a shipment’s size or whether it has handling requirements.

    • Large Package – Applies if your package exceeds 96 inches in length or 130 inches in length and girth combined.
    • Additional Handling – Applies if your package exceeds 48 inches in length, 30 inches in width, or 105 inches in length and girth combined; or if your package weighs more than 50 pounds (domestic) or 70 pounds (international).
    • Over Maximum Limits – Applies if your package exceeds 150 pounds in weight, 108 inches in length, or 165 inches in length and girth combined.

    These are the qualifications that apply as of 2021. Keep in mind it’s always important to stay up to date on changes and amendments throughout the year.

    Peak surcharges

    There are certain times when U.S. shipping volume spikes due to an increase in demand. This spike can be caused by seasonal fluctuations, the economy, or any number of other factors. When more shipments are entering the network, it can be a struggle for carriers to meet this demand. Peak surcharges are fees implemented during these times to help offset the extra work it takes to get these packages delivered, and to help weed out the harder to manage, less profitable shippers. Because demand has surged during the pandemic, we’ve seen an unprecedented amount of peak surcharges for both FedEx and UPS, with adjustments being made as needed. As demand stays elevated, they’re likely to continue, which is why it’s important to review what circumstances dictate these charges. 

    Any shipments that require an extra level of effort (either by package characteristics, frequency, extra services required, etc.) are most likely to incur peak surcharges. The first step in determining whether you’ll be seeing peak surcharges is reviewing a few important factors that put your shipments at risk. Larger packages and those that require additional handling like those we’ve outlined above have been historically affected, and continue to be targeted. In addition to the size of the package, if you’re a large shipper who’s seen an increase in volume, you’ve likely seen a significant spike in your costs due to additional peak surcharges. 

    Prior to the pandemic, peak surcharges were typically only applied during the holiday season, since that’s when FedEx and UPS saw a consistent increase in package volume. How much the fees cost and what packages they applied to varied by carrier and by year. However there are some trends you can note and typically expect. Just like the peak surcharges that have come along as a result of the pandemic, larger shipments are often targeted with extra fees during the holidays. Residential deliveries are also often hit with peak surcharges since so many people are ordering holiday gifts for loved ones during this time of year, straining the carriers’ networks. 

    Fuel surcharges

    Fuel costs are another common surcharge that will apply to each and every shipping invoice you receive. As commuters, we are well aware that fuel prices are a large component of transportation costs. Whether you’re shipping small package via delivery van, a full trailer, or by plane, you can imagine how much higher those costs can climb. As fuel consumers, we are also aware that the price of fuel does not stay consistent for any set period of time. Something has to be done so that carriers can be sure they aren’t losing money on fuel costs when they fluctuate.

    Fuel surcharges are intended to provide an average cost of fuel, so the carrier is protected from loss if fuel prices rise during the term of a contract. Even still, there is no benchmark surcharge amount. The cost can vary by carrier, and as the price of fuel fluctuates, that surcharge will be amended. There are three primary factors that are used to calculate a fuel surcharge: Base Fuel Rate, Base Fuel Mileage, and Source and Interval of the Average Fuel Price. A Base Fuel Rate is the price that determines when a fuel surcharge is to be activated and applied to a bill. Base Fuel Mileage is the miles per gallon that a truck averages on the road. Source and Interval of the Average Fuel Price is a government determined figure and the only component of fuel surcharges that is regulated.

    While there isn’t much that you can do to challenge fuel surcharges, it’s important to understand that they exist to protect the carrier from lost profit. Both FedEx and UPS publish up-to-date fuel surcharge information so that you know how this variable affects the cost of your shipment transportation. 

    Residential delivery charges

    Out of all the surcharges that exist, it’s essential for retailers to understand the impact of residential delivery when planning their shipping costs. A “residential delivery” is defined as one that a carrier must make to a home, whether it’s a single-family dwelling, apartment building, condo complex, or a dorm on a college campus. These charges are necessary for carriers so that they can offset the inconvenience of handing off one shipment to a single location - clearly less efficient than delivering to businesses. 

    Both FedEx and UPS apply residential delivery fees to a variety of scenarios. It’s important to know that businesses operating out of the home will be marked as residential. Additionally, if either the declared delivery location (what’s on the label) or the actual delivery address (in the case of an error) is determined to be residential, the fee will apply. These circumstances are important because while you want to keep costs low, trying to pull one over on the carrier is never a good idea.  

    Pick-up fees

    Both FedEx and UPS implement fees for a variety of pick-up services. Generally, the fee is calculated depending on the immediacy of the pick-up and the type of location. FedEx breaks down pick-up types into three main categories for its FedEx Express and FedEx Ground services: on-call, return on-call, and regular stop. Each pick-up type has a fee that ranges from no charge to a set cost per package. For regular shippers, there is a maximum weekly fee for cost-savings and convenience.

    UPS also offers a variety of pick-up options that are associated with their own charges. Commonly used pick-up options include: UPS On-Call Pickup®, UPS Smart Pickup®, day-specific, and on-route pick-ups. Like with FedEx, as needed services are charged by pick-up or package. Regularly scheduled pick-ups are charged weekly fees that may fluctuate, usually depending on shipment volume.

    It’s important to know that pick-up fees are higher for residential locations, metro areas, and inside pick-up services. As in the case of most surcharges, these fees can change, and you should always consult either carrier’s latest service guide for a complete picture of costs. If using pick-up services is cost prohibitive for you, you should consider reviewing drop-off locations as an alternative. 

    Third-party billing fees

    Both FedEx and UPS charge third-party billing fees. These fees are a percentage of the total bill, including base charges and any accessorials needed. As of 2021, UPS and FedEx charge 4.5%. That percentage might sound low, but it can add up fast. If your business is using multiple manufacturers or suppliers to help fulfill your orders, you will be seeing third-party billing fees for each order. It’s also important to note that this fee may cost more in the future, as it has already seen some increases in the past.

    FedEx and UPS started instituting a third-party billing largely in response to the increased use of drop shipping by ecommerce retailers. Drop shipping is a process where, rather than keeping inventory on hand, sellers may use a supplier or manufacturer to fulfill and ship orders directly to the customer. As the third-party bill-to, the seller is neither the shipper nor receiver, but is paying the shipping charges.

    If you’re often using third-party billing as an option, it may be possible to negotiate rates with your carrier. You may be able to get the fee removed through your agreement, or lower the percentage charged, especially if you’re creating a lot of business for the carrier. 

    Other notable surcharges

    We’ve covered common surcharges that will impact your shipping invoice the most. However, there are several other service fees that you may see.

    • Address correction - associated with changes a carrier must make to correct a given address
    • Signature services  - proof of delivery via signature in order to protect against liability
    • Weekend pick-up/delivery – completing shipments outside a carrier’s normal hours of operation
    • Delivery area – extra effort it takes to drive out to hard to reach locations, such as rural areas

    A general rule of thumb to always remember: if your shipment needs services that require extra effort from the carrier, there is probably an associated charge.

    How to prepare for these fees

    Most FedEx and UPS surcharges are simply part of the business, and are unavoidable. As a component of your total shipping invoice, you should take the time and effort to understand why they’ve been implemented. Most importantly, a thorough knowledge of the basics can help identify how they will impact your business based on your unique shipping needs. It’s unbelievably important to stay up-to-date on surcharge adjustments and increases by looking at annual service guides periodically. Auditing parcel invoices regularly can help identify which surcharges you’re seeing most frequently. 

    By understanding how these fees impact your shipping spend, you can create a better plan of action for both your shipping operations and your pricing strategy. Working with a 3PL that is familiar with FedEx and UPS surcharges can help take the stress out of sorting through the data. At PartnerShip, we can help simplify things for your business – from conducting a shipping analysis to publishing resources that offer a Cliff’s Notes version of service guide mayhem.


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  • Missed LTL Pick-Ups: Key Ways to Get Your Freight on the Road

    09/15/2021 — Jen Deming

    Missed LTL Pick-Up Blog Image

    Question: what’s worse than your LTL shipment running late for delivery? Answer: How about when your shipment isn’t picked up to begin with? Missed LTL pick-ups are a unique shipping challenge because the trouble occurs before the shipment even hits the road. Regardless whether you’re the shipper or the receiver, freight that’s left on the dock can mean delivery delays, playing phone-tag with the carrier, and a few other headaches. 

    Missed pick-ups are very common in LTL freight shipping, even more so as demand increases and capacity shrinks. They usually occur when errors are made scheduling a shipment, or if a pick-up location is unprepared or inflexible regarding the carrier’s arrival. Sometimes, it’s due to a carrier running late because other shippers ran overtime. The good news is that many missed pick-ups are avoidable and there are steps you can take to ensure your freight gets loaded. We’ve broken down key ways to get your freight moving so missed freight pick-ups aren’t as common.

    Understand your carrier’s pick-up schedule

    The first step to avoiding missed LTL pick-ups is understanding how a carrier operates. Carriers typically complete deliveries in the morning, and only after those are completed are new loads picked up throughout the afternoon. Carriers create a plan of action early when scheduling pick-ups and deliveries. Missed pick-ups commonly occur when a shipper tries to squeeze it in too late in the day as an attempt to get a jump on transit. In most cases, it’s extremely difficult to get an LTL shipment picked up the same day. If your warehouse has early close times, this makes pick-ups even more difficult, and you’ll likely see a “freight not ready” designation when tracking your freight status.

    To ensure your shipment gets moving, be realistic in your timelines and give the carrier 24 hours’ notice. Respect how a freight carrier must operate to complete their schedule. The more you accommodate the carrier, the more likely they are to be flexible with you, as well. 

    Request special services at the time of scheduling

    Special services that are necessary to complete a pick-up are often missed when scheduling with the carrier. For example, if you don’t have a dock or proper loading equipment, you’ll need a liftgate. They are often available, but they are not standard on every freight truck. The carrier must be notified when scheduling so the proper truck is dispatched. The same goes for businesses with tricky locations categorized as "limited access". Should you need a pup or box truck, this must be mentioned to the carrier, because smaller, more maneuverable trucks are harder to find. 

    If you’re arranging the shipment, but aren’t the pick-up location, make sure you find out from your shipper whether or not they will need these special services. Mention and confirm these requests when scheduling with the carrier. If this is missed, another pick-up is not likely to be attempted the same day. Instead your carrier will return the next business day.

    Get a confirmation number and ETA 

    When you complete a scheduled pick-up successfully, either by phone or online, you will always be given a confirmation number. This number is a simple way to ensure everything was scheduled correctly and you’re “on the board”, a carrier term for scheduled and set to dispatch. The confirmation number contains a code that is unique to certain carriers. At the time of scheduling, you may receive an ETA from the driver. The ETA can help the shipper prepare for arrival, so a pick-up runs smoothly.

    When scheduling your pick-up, be sure to note the confirmation code and double-check that it’s accurately representing your chosen carrier. Share this number with whomever will be a part of the pick-up process, so that if there are any delays, you can confirm that it was scheduled correctly.

    Create flexibility in your warehouse operating hours

    As a general rule of thumb, the more open you are, the better for the carrier. And we mean that literally. Truck drivers are constantly combating delays during transit, whether due to traffic, weather, or even being held up at another location. Time is money, especially in trucking. A simple delay can interrupt a day’s worth of pick-ups, and trouble can snowball quickly. 

    By extending hours through weekends, or adding as-needed late or early shifts to your warehouse, the carrier will have an easier time completing your pick-up. Keep in mind that the driver wants to check off all of their scheduled stops, so they don’t carry over into the next day. By expanding your dock hours when needed, they will complete their workload and you can rest easy knowing your freight’s moving. 

    Prepare paperwork and prep the load before pick-up 

    As we’ve mentioned, to keep on track, carriers must spend the least amount of time possible at each location. Common reasons a driver may be delayed are because the BOL and paperwork aren’t prepared, or the load isn’t packed and prepped in time. As the capacity crunch tightens, carriers are even less flexible than they have been in the past. If your location isn’t prepared, you can bet the driver will leave if you’re running too deep into detention time. 

    Make sure that if you’re the shipper, you have all paperwork ready. If you are shipping special loads such as hazmat or cross-border freight, those required documents must be in order, as well. Also important, be sure that your freight is properly packaged and staged for easy loading. If you have especially fragile loads, and your packaging isn’t up to par, the driver may choose to leave the shipment due to the added risk.

    Check specs to ensure available space on truck

    An important point to note is that pallet count, weights, and dimensions aren’t just for calculating your shipping costs. In LTL shipping, you share the truck space with other customers’ loads. The specifications you provide determine rates, but also help the driver plan for what will fit on the truck. Proper measurements reveal how much space is left in the trailer for other shipments. Incorrect specs can throw off a driver’s schedule, preventing other customers from loading after you.

    If a carrier decides your shipment’s specs are just too different from what was planned, you guessed it, they’ll leave it on the dock. Keep this in mind if you consider estimating freight dimensions or sneaking on any extra pallets that you have ready. Make sure your measurements and weight match what’s on your BOL. Surprises are great, but not for your arriving truck driver.

    Concluding points

    It’s important to remember that missed pick-ups are common and sometimes unavoidable. The silver lining, however, is that some are within your control. If you want smooth sailing for your LTL freight, review these best practices to start your shipment’s journey off right. 

    As more warehouse teams have increasing responsibilities, tracking and managing pick-ups can take up tons of time. 3PLs like PartnerShip can help proactively check on your loads and find out why there may be any holdups – freeing up your time and to-do list.


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  • The Current State of Freight: What You Can Expect

    08/31/2021 — Leah Palnik

    To say the freight market is strained right now might be an understatement. If you’ve experienced significantly higher rates and less reliability from your carriers, you’re not alone. As someone who is shipping freight, it’s critical to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the market in order to navigate the challenges that are coming with it. Let’s break down the factors that have led us here and what we can expect moving forward.

    Key factors that have led to challenges in the transportation industry
    Like so many other industries, freight transportation has been rocked by the COVID-19 pandemic and all of the cultural shifts that have come along with it. The pandemic not only created new challenges, but also exasperated existing pain points in the market – leading to the perfect storm. It all boils down to a case of supply vs. demand.

    • Consumer buying is strong and is driving up demand. While the world was locked down, we weren’t spending money on vacations or going out to eat. In many cases those spending dollars went towards buying goods instead. Retailers are doing what they can to keep up with demand and as a result, have an increased need for trucks to deliver their much needed inventory.
    • There is a truck driver shortage. The driver shortage is old news, but it is still very relevant now. Sometimes there just simply aren’t enough drivers available to take on new loads. For years, there have been more drivers retiring and leaving the profession than there have been new drivers entering the market. Unfortunately, the open road hasn’t been as attractive to this generation of the workforce as it once was.
    • Building new tractors are constrained by parts availability. Not only is it hard to move freight with less available drivers, but now we are also seeing a limit on new trucks on the road. Supply chains for many goods have been seriously disrupted thanks to the pandemic, and parts that are needed to build new tractors are no exception.

    How LTL carriers are responding
    With such volatile market conditions, LTL carriers are forced to respond. As no surprise, a major course of action they’ve taken is to increase rates. Simple economics tells us that an increased demand means they can charge more for their services.

    Not only are they increasing rates, but they’re also looking to shed less desirable freight from their networks. Loads deemed less profitable, or more trouble than they’re worth, are harder to get covered because carriers want to prioritize loads that allow them to work efficiently and profitably.

    Missed pickups, declined freight, and temporary terminal embargos have now become common place and plague freight carriers across the country, regardless of the company name and logo on the side of the truck.

    LTL freight observations from the front lines
    Many of our customers are exhausted dealing with carrier issues. In a survey we conducted earlier this year, 78% of respondents cited rising shipping costs as a challenge they were currently facing. Along with that, 47% noted they were experiencing longer transit times and 36% were dealing with poor carrier performance.

    Freight shipping challenges

    Our team has also noticed several concerning trends pop up with freight carriers. As if raising base rates wasn’t enough, we’ve seen them put in extra effort to collect on everything they can. Accessorial fees that you may not have seen on your bill in the past are now showing up for services you’ve always received. The carriers just aren’t as lax as they may have been in the past for charging for these extra services.

    Because freight networks are so strained, we’re also seeing an uptick in missing shipments. If this has happened to you, you know how stressful it can be. The carriers are also doing everything in their power to deny claims for both missing and damaged shipments. They’re wanting to see them filed sooner than ever before and are requiring a great deal of evidence.

    Estimated transit times for LTL freight has never been guaranteed, but now more than ever, we’re seeing shipments miss that predicted window. Unfortunately, longer transit times and missed pick-ups are becoming extremely prevalent, again due to how ill equipped carriers are to meet the current freight demand.

    The quickly recovering economy is creating a new environment, in which all industries are competing for freight capacity and causing a new set of standards. Some shippers may be shocked by new carrier practices - from new fees to increased pickup and delivery times.

    What can you do?
    You may want to live by the old adage about how you can’t change others, only yourself. It’s not within your power to control carrier performance or consumer demand, but you can educate yourself and act accordingly.

    • Use a quality broker, like PartnerShip. While brokers have no control over what a carrier ultimately does with a shipment, a quality freight broker will provide the communication and creative solutions you need when caught up in an issue.
    • Follow the tried-and-true best practices for overcoming capacity challenges. Expand your current carrier network, build in extra time at every step of the shipping process, consolidate your shipments, and consider alternative services. While it’s not always possible to implement these strategies, following them any time the market is experiencing tight capacity can be very advantageous to your operations.
    • Become a shipper of choice. This means making your freight desirable to carriers. You probably aren’t able to change what you’re shipping, but there are some factors you can control. Being flexible with pick-up and delivery times, ensuring ease of access for the truck, and avoiding long detention times are all things carriers ultimately appreciate.

    The widely reported driver shortage is very real, but it is only part of the challenge. Capacity is increasing, but not as quickly as the demand grows. Organizations that can adjust and plan accordingly will do a great deal to minimize disruptions in their supply chain.

    Moving forward
    Back to school season is upon us and the holidays are right around the corner. In short, demand is not expected to drop anytime soon. Will the supply side be able to catch up? Not likely. Recruiting and retaining the needed labor force will continue to be one of the biggest challenges in the industry. And as we enter hurricane season and another COVID-19 surge, we could see even more network disruptions.

    At this point, it’s important to manage expectations. You’ll want to budget for higher freight costs and be mindful of potential delays, so you’re not caught off guard. For everything in-between, our team has the expertise to help you navigate these challenges. Contact PartnerShip today and lean on us when you need it most.


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  • 4 Key Factors That Affect Your Freight Class

    08/24/2021 — Jen Deming

    Freight classification is a type of product categorization unique to freight shipping. It relies on four factors that help determine cost: density, stowability, liability, and handling. Once you have a general understanding of these variables, you can better calculate how your class (and cost) will be determined. 

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  • Freight Quote vs. Invoice: Why Don’t They Match?

    08/13/2021 — Jen Deming

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    One of the most common questions we get is from customers wondering why the heck their final freight invoice doesn’t match the rate they were originally quoted. It’s a valid concern because once you have that bill, it’s next to impossible to get more money from your customer and you’re going to be eating that cost. Your knee-jerk reaction may be to blame the carrier, but the real reason they are different may sting a bit – it’s usually a shipper error. Before you start pointing fingers, review these common reasons your bill doesn’t match that original quote.

    Reason 1: Your product is classed incorrectly 

    One of the most common reasons a quote differs from a final bill is because your product is classed incorrectly.  With classification being a huge factor affecting your freight quote, even a small error can impact your price. If you guess or miscalculate, your class may be way off. 

    The issue may be that sometimes your product is difficult to fit in a particular NMFC category. Take glass jars for example. This type of product falls under NMFC code 87700. It’s not as simple as that, however. Because glass jars are typically fragile, they are broken down by volume, and depending on that calculation, the class can be anywhere from class 65 to 400. In an average freight shipment, that’s a difference of hundreds of dollars. Make sure you are utilizing ClassIT, and consulting freight experts if you have any questions on class, or how to properly calculate density.

    Reason 2: A liftgate service inflated your bill

    When checking your freight quote vs. invoice, unexpected extra services are the second most common reason for a mismatch. One example we see time after time is for liftgate service. If you didn’t specify you would need a liftgate when you got your quote, but then your carrier provides the service at pick-up, it will cost you. Additionally, if your customer doesn’t communicate they need one for delivery, that can be added on without your approval or knowledge, surprising you once you get the bill. 

    Communication between both parties and ensuring you have the proper equipment can avoid this completely. Make sure you both understand that the added cost of an accessorial may raise your rate, but will help your shipment get where it needs to. Understanding that these types of special trucks equipped with liftgates are not as common, both parties will know they need to be requested on the front-side.

    Reason 3: Too much time has passed

    First and foremost, it’s important to know that a freight quote is an estimate to begin with.

    So many factors can change - for example, fuel costs fluctuate frequently. Additionally, depending on when you are scheduling your shipment, peak periods can cause capacity issues, and this generally results in higher charges.

    As a general rule, we like to inform our customers that quotes for standard LTL service are valid for about a week. That window is even tighter when you’re using time-critical services. If you’re wanting an estimate so you know what to bill a customer, build in some room for your final cost, or requote as close to the actual shipment pick-up date as possible.

    Reason 4: Your delivery location has changed 

    While not quite as common, sometimes a change in delivery address can affect the final cost of your freight. Changes may occur after a load is quoted or may have to be made while the shipment is already in transit. Reasons for this might include a location being closed, or a consignee that isn’t ready to receive the shipment.

    LTL freight shipments can be rerouted, but that adjustment will definitely incur costs: distance and fuel will increase if the location is further out. On top of that, special service fees such as a redelivery charge or even location-specific fees like limited access could also be applied. Do your best to requote if any details of your delivery location change. If the change is made at the request of your customer, be sure to communicate that fees will apply. If you want to absorb those charges as a courtesy, be sure to build some room in your customer cost to begin with. Otherwise, make it clear who is responsible for those fees.

    Reason 5: The wrong carrier picked up your shipment  

    You’d be surprised, but the wrong freight carrier picking up an LTL load happens much more often than you’d think. We’ve seen customers quote a general rate with one carrier and then hand it off to whatever carrier arrives that day just to get it on the road and off the dock.  Your shipping department is likely very busy, but this sort of simple mistake can cost you so much time and money in the long run.

    Not every LTL carrier has the same base pricing, and even accessorial costs fluctuate between carriers.

    If you quote with one carrier, and hand it off to another, you could be paying much more if that carrier charges more for their services. Even worse, if you have negotiated pricing with one carrier, the incorrect one won’t know to bill using your discounts. Worst case scenario, you may be billed at full-cost. Make sure your warehouse team is aware of what carriers are to move which loads. Creating color coded carrier labels and marking your shipments can help ensure a quick once-over to avoid this drama completely.

    Reason 6: You have a paperwork error that affects billing 

    When comparing your freight quote to your invoice, also take a look at your paperwork and shipping documents. Billing errors and missing information can create an expensive and exhausting headache.

    If you are arranging a shipment, and have special pricing or are using a third-party, make sure an accurate BOL states the correct carrier and “bill-to” party. If you are receiving the load, but responsible for the shipping arrangements, don’t leave it to the shipper to create the BOL. In doing so, you run the risk of an incorrect billing party or other inaccuracies that mean your discounts won’t be applied. Even after the fact, a letter of authorization (LOA) can sometimes fix this by informing a carrier of the correct billing party, but it’s not guaranteed and it definitely delays the process.

    Final thoughts 

    Don’t freak out if you’re seeing some discrepancies between your freight quote vs. your invoice. While they can be unexpected and troublesome, educating yourself and your customer about what can change your rate can help you make better decisions when planning your LTL load. Strong communication and a plan of action can help mitigate expensive invoice issues. If you have concerns about your freight quote vs. your invoice, PartnerShip can help dodge the guessing, help choose the correct services based on your shipping needs, and side-step costly errors.

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  • How Small Retailers Can Save on Shipping Without Volume Discounts

    08/12/2021 — Jen Deming

    Small businesses have it tough, and the fact that volume shipping discounts aren’t always an option makes shipping expensive. The good news is that small retailers have options to decrease shipping expenses without having to rely on volume discounts. Check out our helpful video to learn how. 





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  • 6 Strategies to Side-Step Concealed Damage Claim Drama

    07/27/2021 — Jen Deming

    Concealed Damage Claim Blog Image

    “Freight claim” is a bad word that no one wants to hear in shipping. Submitting a freight claim and hoping that a carrier will fairly reimburse you for replacements and repairs often feels like a shot in the dark. Concealed damage claims, specifically, can escalate pain points because they’re even more challenging to navigate. Concealed claims include damages not immediately noticeable at delivery, such as loss related to temperature changes in the van or shifting of product in the packaging. The good news is that concealed damage claims don’t have to be a death sentence for your freight. There are six ways that you can set yourself up for a win with your concealed freight claim.

    Strategy 1 - Do not turn away the driver

    Right out of the gate, if you notice that your shipment is damaged at arrival, it can be tempting to turn away the driver and refuse the load. Many shippers erroneously think that by accepting the freight, you are giving the carrier the “all clear” and therefore responsible for any damages. This is not true — the first step in getting compensation is accepting the load. If you refuse the load, the carrier will have to take the shipment back to a terminal for storage. This is especially important in the case of concealed damages, as it increases risk for even more handling issues that aren’t immediately obvious, as well as potentially racking up some extra fees for storage.

    Also important to note, many insurance policies state that the freight must be accepted in order to start the claims process. Accepting the freight ensures you are in control of the situation and the next steps for the shipment, not the carrier. Once the load is accepted, you can start reviewing the shipment for concealed damages and start the claims process.

    Strategy 2 - Take your time inspecting the delivery

    Freight delivery drivers have many stops to make throughout the day and try their best to adhere to a pretty tight delivery deadline. It’s in their best interest to move along quickly by limiting time spent at each stop. So it’s pretty common to feel a driver may be rushing the delivery process in order to get back on the road.

    Even though you may feel hurried by the driver, know that as a consignee, you have the right to take adequate time to properly inspect your shipment. Your first step should be a cursory review of outer packaging such as crates, boxes, and binding materials like shrink wrap and packing tape. Confirm you have the correct load by reviewing address labels. Directive stickers like those indicating fragile shipments or temperature-controlled items should be present to help indicate that it was packaged properly in the first place. 

    With the driver present, open palletized boxes and crates, starting with those that have any visible damage. Make sure anyone accepting the delivery knows what to look for on an initial inspection. Afterwards, conduct a secondary, more detailed inspection of all freight in order to find less obvious, concealed damages.

    Strategy 3 - Be thorough on the delivery receipt

    Upon delivery, a piece of documentation called the delivery receipt will be presented to the consignee to essentially sign off on the shipment. This serves as legal proof that the load arrived “free and clear”, indicating no damages or loss while moving under the responsibility of the carrier. When marking the delivery receipt, it’s critical to note anything that may seem off or potentially damaged in your shipment. Simply adding that the shipment is “pending further review” on the receipt will not protect you, so it’s especially important to act quickly and thoroughly check for damages at the time of delivery. While reviewing alongside the driver, indicate anything like item counts, broken crates, torn packaging, holes, or stains that may indicate mishandling or tampering.

    Oftentimes, these notations will result in an exception. Exceptions are notes on a delivery receipt that indicate anything out of the ordinary, but may not lead to a claim. If packaging is damaged but the product inside is intact, you can rest easy knowing that you have your findings on file. That way, if concealed damages are found on secondary review, you have evidence that something was amiss with the delivery from the start. Finally, be sure when signing the delivery receipt that you have the driver confirm and sign as well.

    Strategy 4 - Take plenty of pictures 

    The first rule of damage claims is especially important for concealed damages — the more evidence you submit, the more you protect yourself against a denied freight claim. To supplement any documentation you may submit for the claim, it is in your best interest to take pictures or video of different points in the load’s progress, starting with the shipper’s packing procedures. That way, you have the proof that the load was handed off in perfect condition when it was tendered to the carrier. 

    Photograph the initial inspection and secondary review. Snap pictures throughout the delivery inspection from start to finish, including unopened boxes, visible damage, as well as photos of packed product once opened. If you find damages, make sure you take photos or video of the found damages from every angle, with and without flash or in different lighting scenarios. Backing up documentation with supplemental pictures of the paperwork noting damages is also helpful to have.

    Strategy 5 - Act quickly when filing

    A common misconception is that carriers automatically start the claims process when notified of any damages. This is a fatal mistake for your concealed damage claim. In general, concealed damage claims typically need to be filed with the carrier within five days. If filed in that time, you have to prove that it didn’t happen at the destination.  

    Knowing you have a very strict timeline when filing your freight claim can make an already tense situation harder to handle. If you work with a 3PL broker, you get some extra help in meeting deadlines for filing and setting up a inspection appointment with the carrier. You’ll also get advice on what documentation you need to be set up for success, as well as advice on other strategies you can use to ensure a full payout.

    Strategy 6 - Consider freight insurance options

    One of the most important concealed damage claim tips you can follow is to seriously consider outside freight insurance options. Carrier liability is limited, and they will do everything within their power to pay the least amount possible for damaged shipments. Payouts are usually determined by product type and class number, which means even if you follow filing procedures to the letter, you may still receive reimbursement that is nowhere near the complete value of your freight.

    By using third-party freight insurance, you are covered for the full value of your load, regardless of the commodity or class. You  may have more flexibility on filing times and do not have to prove that the damage was caused by the carrier. If your shipment experiences concealed damages, third-party insurance can help alleviate the escalated stress associated with filing for damages found after delivery.

    You should remember...

    Concealed damage claims are extra tricky, and most carriers count on you making mistakes during inspections and filing so they can avoid pricey payouts. But, you can win concealed damage claims if you follow some key steps that are extra important in the case of hidden damages. PartnerShip experts have had success winning concealed damage claim payouts, and can help guide your filing process from start-to-finish, better ensuring you are compensated for your damaged freight.


    Everything You Need to Know About Freight Claims

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  • Carrier Liability vs. Freight Insurance. What’s the Difference?

    07/15/2021 — PartnerShip

    Liability vs. Freight Insurance Blog PostFreight damage and loss is a reality of shipping. It’s not a matter of if it will happen to you; it’s a matter of when. When damage or loss occurs, your first thought is often, “how will I be compensated?” To answer the question, you need to understand the difference between carrier liability and freight insurance.


    Carrier Liability

    Every freight shipment is covered by some form of liability coverage, determined by the carrier. The amount of coverage is based on the commodity type or freight class of the goods being shipped and covers up to a certain dollar amount per pound of freight. 

    In some cases, the carrier liability coverage may be less than the actual value of the freight. It’s common to see liability restricted to $0.25 per lb. or less for LTL or $100,000 for a full truckload. Also, if your goods are used, the liability value per pound will be significantly less than the liability value per pound of new goods. Liability policies can vary, so it’s very important to know the carrier’s liability for freight loss and how much is covered before you arrange your freight shipment.

    Freight damage and loss is a headache. In order to receive compensation, a shipper must file a claim proving the carrier is at fault for the damaged or lost freight. Carrier liability limitations include instances where damage is due to acts of God (weather related causes) or acts of the shipper (the freight was packaged or loaded improperly). In these cases, the carrier is not at fault. Additionally, if damage is not noted on the delivery receipt, carriers will attempt to deny liability. 

    If the carrier accepts the claim evidence provided by the shipping customer, then they will pay for the cost of repair (if applicable) or manufacturing cost, not the retail sell price. The carrier may also pay a partial claim with an explanation as to why they are not 100% liable. The carrier will try to decrease their cost for the claim as much as possible.   

    Freight Insurance

    Freight insurance (sometimes called cargo insurance or goods in transit insurance) does not require you to prove that the carrier was at fault for damage or loss, just that damage or loss occurred. Freight insurance is a good way to protect your customers and your business from loss or damage to your freight while in transit. There is an extra charge of course, and it is typically based on the declared value of the goods being shipped. Most freight insurance plans are provided by third-party insurers.

    As mentioned earlier, your freight might have a higher value than what is covered by carrier liability, such as shipping used goods. Another example is very heavy items. Carrier liability may only pay $0.25 per pound for textbooks that have a much higher value. This is a great example of when freight insurance is extremely helpful in the event of damage or loss.

    Carrier Liability vs. Freight Insurance in the Claims Process

    If your freight is only covered by carrier liability coverage:

    ·         Your claim must be filed within 9 months of delivery

    ·         The delivery receipt must include notice of damage

    ·         Proof of value and proof of loss is required

    ·         The carrier has 30 days to acknowledge your claim and must respond within 120 days

    ·         Carrier negligence must be proven

    If your shipment is covered by freight insurance:

    ·         Proof of value and proof of loss is required

    ·         Claims are typically paid within 30 days

    ·         You are not required to prove carrier negligence

    Deciding which option is best for your shipment

    Anything that comes at an added cost needs to be evaluated critically and freight insurance is no different. There are a few things to consider as you weigh the potential cost and risk of damage and loss versus the cost and benefit of insurance. You'll need to think about the commodities you're shipping, how time critical your shipment is, and if you'd be able to weather the financial burden that comes with a denied or delayed claim payout. 

    Understanding your carrier's liability coverage and knowing the ins and outs of freight insurance can be tricky. If you have questions like “how much does freight insurance cost?” or “what does freight insurance cover?” the team at PartnerShip can help

    If you want to learn more about the freight claims process, check out our comprehensive guide.

    Claims White Paper


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  • 5 Times The Lowest Freight Quote Won't Work For You

    07/08/2021 — Jen Deming

    If you're keeping LTL costs low by shopping for great freight rates, you're doing a pretty good job of shipping smarter. But here's a curveball: there's a few specific scenarios where the lowest quote might do more harm than good for your load. Our newest video covers five key instances where you may want to rethink that cheap quote and pay just a bit more for better service. 



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  • Your No-Nonsense Guide to Dimensional Weight Pricing

    06/28/2021 — Leah Palnik

    If you regularly ship with UPS or FedEx, you’ve likely encountered dimensional (DIM) weight pricing whether you realized it or not. Essentially it’s a way for the carriers to charge you more for larger, but lighter, packages. And if you’re not careful, it can drive up your costs significantly.

    What is dimensional weight pricing?
    Dimensional weight pricing is a way to rate your packages based on density in relation to weight. What that means is that instead of rating your package purely based on its actual weight, it also takes into account how much space your package takes up on the carriers’ delivery vehicles.

    How do you calculate dimensional weight pricing?
    Luckily for you, we have a DIM weight calculator you can use. But if you’re curious about the formula behind it, it’s fairly simple. Start by calculating the cubic size of your package – multiply length by width by height. Then take that total and divide it by 139, which is the dimensional divisor determined by FedEx and UPS. If the resulting DIM weight is higher than your actual weight, the DIM weight becomes the weight you’ll be rated on – otherwise known as your billable weight.

    DIM Weight Calculation

    Let’s look at a couple simple examples. If you have a 12x12x12 box, the dimensional weight will be 12 lbs. So if you’re shipping 15 lbs. of books, your package will be rated based on the actual weight of 15 lbs. But if you’re shipping 5 lbs. of ping pong balls, your package will be rated based on the DIM weight of 12 lbs. since it’s the higher weight.

    Why is dimensional weight pricing used?
    UPS and FedEx want to discourage shippers from using unnecessarily large packaging, and there is one main reason for this. The larger your package is, the more space it occupies on their planes and trucks. This in turn, leaves less room for other packages. UPS and FedEx make more money and work far more efficiently if they’re able to fill up their delivery vehicles with more packages.

    The history of dimensional weight pricing
    Once upon a time, not all shipments were subject to DIM weight pricing. The DIM factor that FedEx and UPS use has also changed over time – and not in a way that’s favorable to shippers. While the DIM weight formula and shipment qualifications have remained steady for a few years now, there’s no guarantee that it’ll stay that way. Let this be a lesson on how important it is to stay alert on any announced changes from both carriers.

    How do you avoid overpaying due to dimensional weight pricing?
    The most important thing you should be doing to avoid DIM weight pricing is right-sizing your packaging. You need to consider both the size of the item you’re shipping and also how fragile it is. Items that are at a greater risk of damage will need more cushioning, which will take up more space. Try to find packaging that allows enough room for the needed cushioning, but no more. The smaller you can make your package, while still keeping your item safe, the better.

    There are a few resources available that you can use to find the right packaging for the items you’re shipping. UPS has a Packaging Advisor tool on their website that allows you to select your merchandise category and enter your dimensions to get customized packaging and cushioning guidelines.

    FedEx also has a number of packaging guides based on the type of item you’re shipping. But beyond that, FedEx even has a Packaging Lab where you can send your packaging in for durability testing or request a design consultation to improve the efficiency of your packaging. Many of the services are free if you have an account.

    Keeping your small package costs low
    While ensuring you have efficient packaging to avoid DIM weight pricing is one way to help reduce your shipping costs, another is securing discounts with the carriers. That can be difficult for small and medium sized businesses to negotiate on their own. However, when you work with PartnerShip you can access savings that are typically reserved for high volume shippers. Contact our team to learn more.

    DIM Weight Infographic

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  • The Top 4 Reasons Your Freight Is Late

    06/22/2021 — Jen Deming

    Despite the very best of intentions, sometimes your freight delivery may be running a little behind. Though not every contributing factor is within your control, there are some tips you can take to lessen the impact of delay in these common scenarios.

    Freight Delay Infographic

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  • Welcome to Our Newest Employees!

    06/16/2021 — Jen Deming

    Here at PartnerShip, we truly value our team members and put a strong emphasis on connectivity between staff. During the past year, working remotely has made it more challenging to maintain our culture, but that hasn't changed our commitment to supporting each other. We recently brought on six new staff members and while we get to know them, we thought you'd also like to help us welcome them to the team! Learn more about these new faces of PartnerShip below. 

    Bianca Pate

    What do you like to do in your free time?

    I collect tropical houseplants and have a vegetable garden. I also spend a lot of time making macrame art, sketching, reading and going hiking.

    Do you have any nicknames?

    All of my friends call me Bea.

    What is your favorite 90s Jam?

    Say It Ain't So - Weezer

    What's the best vacation you've been on?

    Every few months my partner and I drive to Asheville, NC to go hiking. It’s my favorite place, so it’s always the best to get away in the mountains.

    What do your colleagues say is your best attribute?

    My favorite coworker from one of my past jobs says I am great at talking to people and meeting them where they are at.


    Mary Anne

    What do you like to do in your free time?

    Walk the park with my dog Bella and visit with my grandbabies.

    Do you have any nicknames?

    Yes, Grace.

    What is your favorite 90s Jam?

    Don't have one.

    What's the best vacation you've been on?

    Visiting my grandbabies in West Virginia.

    What do your colleagues say is your best attribute?

    My outgoing personality!


    Rae Millican

    What do you like to do in your free time?

    I spend my free time having fun with my two daughters. I also enjoy collecting really old books and doing activities outside around the bay.

    Do you have any nicknames?

    Rae Rae

    What is your favorite 90s Jam?

    Alice in Chains – Man in the Box

    What's the best vacation you've been on?

    Best Scenery: Lake Louise (Banff National Park). Most Fun: Italy/New Orleans/Key West

    What do your colleagues say is your best attribute?

    My helpful attitude.


    JT McDonald

    What do you like to do in your free time?

    I race Motocross, play guitar, play with my dogs Ryder & Sophie and try out new recipes

    Do you have any nicknames?

    JT is a nickname that was given to me when I was about a week old. My full name is John Thomas but my Dad’s name is also John. A week in my parents realized that calling me John would be confusing and John Thomas was too long so JT was what they settled on and I’ve gone by that since.

    What is your favorite 90s Jam?

    One Headlight - The Wallflowers

    What's the best vacation you've been on?

    Waikoloa Hawaii. Such a beautiful place with great beaches, volcanos to explore and amazing food.

    What do your colleagues say is your best attribute?

    My ability to wear many hats and take on any project.


    Paris Thomas

    What do you like to do in your free time?

    I like to catch up on my reading in my free time.

    Do you have any nicknames?

    No nicknames.

    What is your favorite 90s Jam?

    Return of the Mack - Mark Morrison

    What's the best vacation you've been on?

    Dominican Republic - when I was married.

    What do your colleagues say is your best attribute?

    I'm very aware of my surroundings and I'm always willing to learn.


    Paris Thomas

    What do you like to do in your free time?

    Spend time with my children.

    Do you have any nicknames?

    No.

    What is your favorite 90s Jam?

    Wonderwall - Oasis

    What's the best vacation you've been on?

    Universal Studios.

    What do your colleagues say is your best attribute?

    Kindness.


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  • Pallet Packing Mistakes to Avoid

    06/10/2021 — Leah Palnik

    Pallet Packing: Common Mistakes to Avoid

    Pallet packing isn’t something you can take lightly. One wrong move and the whole shipment could lose strength and stability – risking damage to your freight. Rather than conducting your own experiments, check out these common pallet packing mistakes so you know what to avoid.

    Mistake #1: Choosing the wrong pallet
    Pallet packing begins at the very foundation of your shipment – the pallet itself. It may be tempting to reuse old pallets for your shipments but if you’re not looking out for structural integrity, you could be in trouble. Avoid using pallets with broken boards or protruding nail heads.

    Using an alternative material pallet can also cause some issues. Wooden pallets are the standard, but pallets made from metal, plastic, and corrugated materials have all entered the market. However, not all pallets are created equal. These pallets are good alternatives for certain specialized needs, but issues like weight, movement, and pallet strength make them not suitable for all types of freight. Before you consider swaying from wooden pallets, make sure to do your research.

    Mistake #2: Not properly packing individual boxes
    Before you can stack your pallet, you need to pack your individual boxes or cartons. Even if your boxes are secure on the pallet, the contents inside the cartons can shift. Leaving excess space and not providing proper impact protection is a common mistake that many shippers make. Start by right-sizing your boxes – leave just enough room for the product and the needed impact protection. Anything more is wasted space that you will need to fill with cushioning like paper pad or packing peanuts.

    Mistake #3: Stacking inadequately
    You may think that the way you stack your cartons is just about making it fit on your pallet. However, neglecting to follow certain best practices that increase strength can be a fatal mistake. During pallet packing, not evenly distributing weight and not placing the heaviest boxes at the bottom is a quick way to increase your risk of damage. Using pallets that are too small and thus leaving overhang is also a common mistake that will make your freight vulnerable.

    The stacking patterns you use when packing your pallet are also extremely important. One of the biggest offenders is pyramid stacking. This kind of pallet packing pattern leaves the cartons at the top at greater risk of being damaged and makes the load less secure. When possible, an aligned column pattern is best. Stacking your pallet in a way that ensures it is level and flat will put you in the best position to avoid damage.

    Mistake #4: Skimping on stretch wrap
    If you don’t currently use a stretch wrap machine, you want to make sure your manual wrapping technique is up to par. There are a couple common mistakes to look out for. First, make sure you’re wrapping around the pallet enough. You should be making at least 5 wraps around the entire shipment. Second, twisting the wrap is something that is often overlooked. You should twist the wrap every other rotation to increase the durability.

    Mistake #5: Not labeling correctly
    After you go through all that work of ensuring you’ve packed your pallet in a way that reduces its risk of damage, you don’t want to run into issues just because you neglected to label your shipment properly. One label is not enough. You want to make sure the shipping label is on each side of your pallet, with the consignee information clearly visible.

    Pallet packing may seem simple, but these missteps can create complicated issues. If you’ve discovered that you’ve made any of these common mistakes and want to learn more about packaging best practices, download our free white paper!

    The Ultimate Guide to Packaging Your Shipments


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  • How a 3PL Can Help You Dodge Food Distribution Challenges

    05/26/2021 — Jen Deming

    Food Distribution Blog Post Image

    Every industry has its own unique shipping challenges, and these issues aren’t always avoidable. We work with many food and beverage manufacturers and retailers, and constantly see a pattern of reoccurring obstacles within the industry. Working with food distribution centers can help gain brand exposure and increase reach of your product, but there are very specific transportation issues associated with these locations. Familiarizing yourself with what you can expect of distribution centers and how a 3PL like PartnerShip can help ease the process can help to lessen headaches and ensure your transportation goes smoothly.

    If you’ve been in business for a while, names like UNFI, KEHE, Sysco, are probably all familiar to you as common food commodity distributors. Working with big name companies like these can help manage your supply chain efficiently, fulfill customer orders, and expand your product to a multitude of retail locations quickly. No matter the type of distribution center, all run a very tight ship that doesn’t allow much room for error. What you need to know is that while these places are convenient for exposure and expansion, they pose serious operational complications if you aren’t aware of challenges beforehand. Let’s take a look at how a 3PL can help with the major challenges in working with food distribution centers.

    3PLs help navigate restricted hours of delivery and pick-up

    Because food distribution centers are working with an innumerable amount of deliveries from various businesses, managing incoming shipments from manufacturers is very complex and requires a lot of communication. Most food distributors require a very small window for deliveries, including early morning or late evening receiving hours. This helps to manage congestion and traffic at receiving docks and expedites the process so trucks can unload and be on their way. If you’ve ever shipped to a tradeshow and experienced strict timelines for arrival, it works much in the same way with distribution centers. If your truck arrives at a distribution center outside the window of delivery, it is likely to be refused and will acquire detention or redelivery/late fees. 

    Because there is so much involved in communicating with the distribution center, knowing appropriate delivery hours, and tracking your shipment, working with a 3PL can help alleviate some of that responsibility. Freight experts at a quality 3PL know what to look out for, and can help verify hours and help coordinate with your carrier.

    A 3PL can help sort out carrier preferences

    Shipping food and beverage commodities is innately more challenging than other products because regulations, certifications, and other considerations are major factors influencing the process. Food-grade carriers undergo a rigorous vetting process with the FDA, and need to meet certain safety and security requirements in order to ship their product. Because of this, some food distribution centers require or prefer specific carriers for inbound and outbound shipments that they know meet these standards.

    Because these carrier preferences can change within a distributor’s network, and aren’t always disclosed prior to arranging a shipment, doing research beforehand is of utmost importance. Making sure the distribution center you are shipping to has a preferred carrier whose services align with your business needs is an important part of the supply chain relationship. Keeping track of this can be challenging, and working with a 3PL who is both familiar with the unique needs of your business and requirements of top distribution centers can help ease the process.

    3PLs will set up any appointment requirements

    Another major caveat to watch out for in working with big-name food distributors and warehouses is appointment requirements for delivery or pick-up. In addition to restricted operating hours, these locations will often require an appointment to be scheduled for the arrival of the freight carrier. This needs to be arranged prior to scheduling the pick-up from your shipper location, and the responsibility falls on the carrier or vendor. 

    Often, these locations manage appointment scheduling via online portals, and require important information like a PO number, delivery location address, carrier name and number, and shipment descriptions like weight, size, and commodity. Having all of this information and documentation on-hand can help make the process much easier. If you’re managing several shipments at once, it can get complicated, and working with a 3PL can help make sure you have all the information you need, and ensure it’s accurate. Working with a final delivery location or customer is important as well, and communicating with all parties during the shipment process is crucial to avoid hang-ups, delays, or other issues. Juggling all these variables can be overwhelming, especially when managing other parts of your business. Collaborating with freight experts is a smart way to delegate some of that responsibility.

    Quality 3PLs will keep an eye out for sort and seg fees 

    In addition to the aforementioned challenges that come with shipping to and from a food distribution center, there’s an important accessorial fee associated with these locations. Sort and segregation fees are charges applied when the consignee, the food distributor, needs the driver to break down the pallets and divide up the product. The shipment is often separated based on SKU, commodity, weight break, delivery destination, or a variety of other factors. Because standard freight services do not include driver assist with loading or unloading deliveries, this extra step will result in higher charges on your invoice because it is labor-intensive and may result in delays for the driver. 

    Consulting with a 3PL on shipments going to and from food distribution centers and warehouses is the best way to gather information on delivery requirements before you ship. Because these fees can accumulate rapidly and end up costly, working with brokers who have strong relationships with their freight carriers may help in reducing costs through discounted accessorials and special freight rates. Knowing if the distribution center has these requirements can help you prepare for higher fees and you can work that into your budget before you get hit with a bill that’s higher than you expected.

    PartnerShip can help

    Shipping to a food distribution center can result in many obstacles an everyday freight shipper has never seen before. Working with a quality 3PL, like PartnerShip, you gain an entire fleet of experts that know what issues to look out for before they become problems for your food and beverage shipments. 

    Advantages of a 3PL White Paper CTA

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  • Do I Need a Liftgate for My Freight?

    05/13/2021 — Jen Deming

    Liftgate services are a leading request made by freight shippers. Depending on your shipping location and the loading equipment you have, a liftgate can literally make or break your freight loads. But, it's important to know that this top accessorial comes at a cost. Learning what this common service is and when it's going to be used can help you plan for additional costs and keep your budget in line.




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  • 10 Essential Freight FAQs for Smart Shipping

    04/07/2021 — Jen Deming

    ALT 10 Essential Freight FAQs

    No matter what you're moving, there are a few freight shipping fundamentals that you need to know in order to transport your load successfully. While the process seems straightforward, there are some challenges that can be anticipated by answering a few basic questions beforehand. We've compiled the essential questions that you need to be able to answer before you start shipping freight successfully.

    What is the difference between freight and small package shipping?

    While freight and small package shipping have some similarities, there are some major distinctions to keep in mind. Shipment size is the first recognizable difference between the two, with small package shipments being smaller, typically less than 150 lbs. Freight shipments consist of larger loads, often palletized, that range from one or two pieces to a dedicated truck. Differences in transit time, pricing structure, and driver service level are other major variables between the two transportation options. Knowing the details and requirements of your load can help determine which service makes the most sense for you.

    What kind of packaging is best for my freight shipments?

    Proper packaging is key in protecting the security of your shipments. Using the correct materials for the commodity you are moving can help deter damages and loss. When packing items into multiple boxes, avoid any excess space to limit shifting. Packaging materials like bubble wrap, foam cushioning, and packing peanuts can all help cushion your commodities. Freight shipments do best when boxes are palletized or packed securely into customized wooden crates. If you are shipping multiple items on a pallet, it’s important to shrink wrap them together in a uniform, structured stack to avoid damage or separation of items. Clear and correct labeling is important to get your shipments where they need to go accurately and in an efficient time frame.

    When does it make sense to use LTL vs truckload?

    Choosing to use either an LTL (less-than-truckload) freight or truckload service is often situational and can depend on the specific requirements of a shipment. LTL shipments are moved by carriers who group your loads together with other customers for delivery. Your shipment will be sharing space with other freight and will be handled at multiple terminals. Truckload shipments typically use a dedicated truck for your move, so you are paying for the entire space for the full length of the transit. LTL freight is a more cost-efficient option, and great for regular freight loads of a few pallets or more, with no hard deadlines. Truckload shipping gives you greater security and a faster transit, making it more ideal for large, high-value or fragile loads.

    Do I need a guaranteed delivery date?

    Getting your freight load delivery date guaranteed can be a tough endeavor, so arrival dates given at the time of booking your load are always estimated. Factors like weather, warehouse delays, traffic, and other variables make it difficult for a carrier to promise delivery on a certain date with standard freight services. Time-critical or expedited services are a viable option for shipments that must arrive quickly by a certain time of day, day of the week, or other specific delivery window. It’s important to note, however, that even when electing to use these premium services, situations may arise that can cause a delay where a carrier will not be liable.

    What is an accessorial fee?

    Freight carriers use additional charges to compensate for any extra time and effort it takes to move a shipment, called accessorial fees. Any challenges with loading and moving your freight such as an oversized shipment, limited access at the point of delivery, or specialized equipment needs can drive up your freight bill. It’s important to note that every carrier charges different amounts for these fees, so knowing what services your shipment requires before pickup will help avoid any surprises.

    What do I do if my freight is damaged?

    As frustrating as the experience can be, freight damage or loss is almost inevitable if you ship regularly. The cost of repairs and replacements can be compensated by the carrier in these circumstances, but there are very specific steps smart shippers must take to ensure approval and payouts. Damage prevention is always the smartest tactic, so proper packaging is a great place to start. Making sure your paperwork is in order, checking for hidden damages, and filing your claim in a timely manner are all important steps to ensure your claim is resolved in your favor. 

    What is a freight class?

    Many factors go into determining a rate for a freight shipment, and freight class is one of the most important. Every type of commodity that moves through the freight network is assigned a universal classification code by the NMFTA. These numbers are determined by four main factors: density, stowability, handling, and liability. Generally, the more difficult or challenging a commodity is to move, the higher the freight class. These qualities, combined with the length of haul, fuel costs, and extra services, determine your final freight rate. Classification can be confusing to get right, but freight experts can help decide which works is most accurate for your load.

    What is density-based freight? 

    As more freight enters the network, and capacity continues to be limited, carriers struggle to keep up with available loads. Ideal freight shipments are solid, heavy, and take up minimal space within the truck, allowing more room for additional loads. Lightweight, awkwardly-shaped loads that don’t allow for an efficient use of space are subject to density-based rates. The shipment density, combined with freight class, will give you your total freight rate, which tends to be higher than low-density, easy-to-move shipments. 

    How can I lower my shipping costs?

    A smart start for lowering operating costs is by taking a good look at your shipping practices. While there are some uncontrollable variables that factor into shipping costs, there are a few places you can better optimize your strategy for more savings. Improving your packaging, cultivating a strong relationship with your carriers, and maintaining reliable communication with your customers create great opportunities to lower your costs. Working with a quality 3PL can also help identify key areas where you may be able to save money with less effort on your end.

    How can a 3PL help my shipping operations?

    Working with a 3PL is a great way to gain  resources and improve efficiency. Working with freight experts who are also familiar with the unique needs of your business can decrease the amount of time you spend on finding ways to cut costs. A 3PL like PartnerShip can also expand your network of carriers, ensuring your freight moves are covered quickly with reliable carriers, often with competitive rates that aren’t available to most businesses on their own.  

    While these are some of the most common questions we receive at PartnerShip, they aren’t the only ones we hear from our customers. If you have a freight dilemma that you’re not sure how to resolve, contact the experts at PartnerShip and we will find the best answers for your business.

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  • 5 Painless Ways to Save on Freight

    03/12/2021 — Jen Deming

    Everybody wants to lower their business operating costs, but nobody wants to spend a lot of time doing it. Decreasing your shipping spend is a good place to start, and there are five painless ways shippers can keep their freight costs low. From auditing your current carriers to tightening up your packaging practices, we break down simple ways to spend less on freight using minimal effort while gaining maximum payoff.




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  • Common Accessorial Fees Explained

    02/24/2021 — Leah Palnik

    No one likes surprise fees. Unfortunately, there are quite a few extra costs that are likely to pop up with LTL freight. Known as accessorial fees, these charges cover a wide variety of extra services and can add up fast.

    What are accessorial fees?
    An accessorial fee is a charge for services performed by the carrier that are considered to be beyond the standard pickup and delivery. These fees make up just one part of your freight rate, but can be challenging to manage. Understanding which accessorial charges you can plan for and which ones you can avoid is necessary if you want to keep your freight costs in check.

    What are some common LTL accessorial charges?
    You might be wondering what is considered an extra service, and you’re not alone. We’ve compiled some common LTL accessorial fees so you know what to look out for.

    • Lift Gate Service
      When the shipping or receiving address does not have a loading dock, manual loading or unloading is necessary. A lift gate is a platform at the back of certain trucks that can raise and lower a shipment from the ground to the truck. Having this feature on trucks requires additional investment by an LTL carrier, hence the additional fee.

    • Inside Pick Up/Inside Delivery
      If the driver is required to go inside (beyond the front door or loading dock) to pick up or deliver your shipment, instead of remaining at the dock or truck, additional fees will be charged because of the additional driver time needed for this service.

    • Residential Service
      Carriers define a business zone as a location that opens and closes to the public at set times every day. If you are a business located in a residential zone (among personal homes or dwellings), or are shipping to or from a residence, the carrier may charge an additional residential fee due to complexity in navigating these non-business areas.

    • Collect On Delivery (COD)
      A shipment for which the transportation provider is responsible for collecting the sale price of the goods shipped before delivery. The additional administration required for this type of shipment necessitates an additional fee to cover the carrier's cost.

    • Oversized Freight
      Shipments containing articles greater than or equal to twelve feet in length. Since these shipments take up more floor space on the trailer, additional fees often apply.

    • Fuel Surcharge
      An extra charge imposed by the carriers due to the excessive costs for diesel gas. The charge is a percentage that is normally based upon the Diesel Fuel Index by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

    • Advance Notification
      This fee is charged when the carrier is required to notify the consignee before making a delivery.

    • Limited Access Pickup or Delivery
      This fee covers the additional costs required to make pickups or deliveries at locations with limited access such as schools, military bases, prisons, or government buildings.

    • Reweigh and Reclassification
      Since weight and freight class determine shipment base rates, carriers want to make sure the information on the BOL is accurate. If the carrier inspects a shipment and it does not match what was listed, they will charge this fee along with the difference.

    Navigating the many nuances of LTL freight accessorial fees to determine which services you need and which you can avoid will help ensure the most cost effective price. Carriers generally publish a document called the "Rules Tariff 100" which provides a list of current accessorial services and fees. The shipping experts at PartnerShip are well versed in these documents and are happy to help with any questions you may have. 

    Want a more in-depth look into freight accessorial fees and how to avoid or offset the added costs? Check out our free white paper

    The Complete Guide to Freight Accessorials

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  • 5 Frustrating Reasons Your Freight Claim Was Denied

    02/19/2021 — Jen Deming

    5 Frustrating Reasons Your Claim Was Denied

    While we’d like to think that freight loss and damage can be avoided, realistically it’s something every shipper will face. That means that at some point you will likely need to file the dreaded freight claim. Unfortunately, when it comes to the final say in payouts, carriers are in the driver’s seat. The good news is, most denied claims or insufficient payouts are caused by five common oversights. If you can avoid these issues, you are more likely to win your claim and recoup your losses.

    1. It falls into one of the exclusions outline by the Carmack Amendment

      The Carmack Amendment was passed in 1935 in order to protect carriers from exclusive responsibility for any damage or loss occurring during transit. It sets up five scenarios that legally exclude the carrier from liability. If damage or loss occurs due to one of these instances, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to collect for the damages.

      Act of God – Unavoidable events such as natural disasters, adverse weather conditions, medical emergencies, etc. that may befall the driver during transit fall into this category. These events have to be determined as unforeseeable and inevitable in order for the carrier to remain free from responsibility.

      Public Enemy – If the damage-causing incident occurred during a defensive call to action by the government or “military force”, the carrier is not responsible for damages. While rare during peacetime, this scenario has also been applied to acts of domestic terrorism, but does not refer to hijackers, cargo theft, etc.

      Default of Shipper – This scenario is the most common exclusion and places full responsibility for damages squarely on the shipper. If damage is caused by negligence of the shipper, due to poor packaging, improper labeling, rough handling during loading, and other factors, the carrier is exempt from liability.

      Public Authority – An incident that results in damage or delay due to government intervention like road closures, quarantines, trade embargoes, etc. are unavoidable and exempt carriers from responsibility.

      Inherent Vice – Some high-risk commodities deteriorate naturally over time, such as live plants, food, medical supplies, etc. As long as that deterioration is not being sped up by the carrier through negligence, they are safe from liability.

    2. You are missing key documentation

      When you are submitting a claim, it is important that you have every piece of paperwork filled out correctly and in proper order for the carrier to review. The more documentation you can provide about specifics relating to your load, the better chance you have at winning a claim. It’s important for you to prove that the shipment was in good condition and securely packaged at the time of pick-up. Taking pictures of the product before, during, and after packaging is completed is a smart move.

      You should also make sure that the bill-of-lading (BOL) is filled out correctly with precise weight measurements, commodity descriptions, classifications, and piece counts. The BOL serves as a legal contract between the carrier and shipper – errors on this document will have far-reaching consequences. If your weight is off or the commodity/classification is incorrect, liability payouts may be less than you expect.

      An invoice determining the actual value of your product is key in determining a payout, as well as packing slips that help back up your piece counts. Other supporting documents like the paid freight bill, inspection reports, weight certificates, replacement and repair invoices, etc., are all great things to keep on hand in the event of a claim.

      In addition to obtaining as many pieces of documentation as possible to support your claim, it’s key to present everything to the carrier in a timely manner. You have up to nine months from the delivery date to submit a damage claim. For lost shipments, you have up to 9 months to file from the date it was estimated to arrive. Concealed damage claims are much more urgent – a claim must be filed within five days. So after receiving your delivery, be sure to unpack your shipments and check for hidden damage as soon as possible.

    3. You didn't attempt to mitigate the damages

      Even if the carrier takes responsibility for the damages caused to your freight, they are going to fight to pay the least amount possible. It is important to show that you have attempted to mitigate and lessen the effect of these damages as much as possible. Carriers are likely to want to know whether you attempted to salvage the shipment. Were you able to have the broken or missing items repaired or sold at a discount, if possible? It’s important that the proper commodity, nature of the damage, replacement costs, and potential loss of business are accurately represented to determine the full extent of loss.

      The carrier has the right to inspect the damaged shipment as part of the freight claims process. So, it is very important not to dispose of damaged freight, unless storing it poses a threat to safety or health, such as with hazardous materials or spoiled food items. If this is the case, the carrier must be notified as soon as possible so they can act on inspecting the freight if need be. Preventing them from the opportunity to do so can result in an immediate denied claim.

    4. You haven't paid your freight bill

      The last thing you might want to do is to pay a carrier for a shipment that they damaged during transit. However, it is important to be current on your invoices if you are submitting a freight claim. If you owe the carrier in freight charges, either for past due invoices or for the damaged load, you’re likely to get denied for a payout. Even if you do get approved, the reimbursement process may be drawn out or even amended to a much lower amount due to the total charges you owe the shipper.

      The most important thing to note is that accidents and damages happen, despite the best of intentions. Paying your freight bill on time, even if a damage claim will be submitted, is a sign of good faith and can help maintain a working business relationship with a carrier who otherwise serves your business well.

    5. You've signed for a clear proof of delivery

      If you take one point away from this list of tips, let this be the one: remember to inspect your shipment before signing the proof of delivery (POD). This document acknowledges the arrival of the load to the point of delivery. By simply signing this document and allowing the driver to continue on his way, you are stating that it has delivered free and clear without any loss or damages.

      Smart shippers note: this is your opportunity to review and inspect your shipments carefully and note any discrepancies on the POD. Open boxes and check for concealed damages or loss. This is especially important if you have multiple pallets, crates, or shrink-wrapped items. Make sure what you have matches the BOL. If your BOL shows two shrink-wrapped pallets of stacked boxes, but the total piece count is off, make sure you note those missing items. Otherwise, a carrier can claim they delivered “two pallets” as stated on the BOL.

      If you are the shipper, make sure your delivery location knows the importance of these procedures. It is on them to take pictures, note discrepancies, and challenge the carrier accordingly at the point of delivery.

      If you’re not prepared, it’s much more likely that your freight claim will get denied. Use the checklist below to make sure you’re in a position to get the payout you deserve.

    Claims Checklist

    The bottom line

    Freight damage is frustrating, time-intensive, and expensive. While it’s reassuring that you can submit a claim with the carrier in order to recoup your losses, it’s important that you are thorough in the information you provide. The more you know about freight claims, the better prepared you are when going to bat against the carriers. Check out our free comprehensive guide to freight claims so you can save yourself some time and spare yourself the headache.

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  • Asset vs. Non-Asset Based 3PLs: The Major Distinctions

    01/21/2021 — Leah Palnik

    There are two main types of third-party logistics (3PL) providers and they’re not exactly created equal. Asset based 3PLs and non-asset based 3PLs each have their place in the market. However, they have a few key differences that can impact how your freight is handled and how much it will cost you.

    What are asset based 3PLs and non-asset based 3PLs?
    Asset based logistics providers own some or all of the parts of the supply chain. This can include carriers, trucks, warehouses, or distribution centers. Conversely, non-asset based 3PLs don’t own these parts of the supply chain. Instead they are relationship-based and develop a network of partners to help move your freight.

    The major differences between asset based and non-asset based logistics
    Besides how they operate, there are some distinctions that are important for shippers to take note of.

    1. Flexibility and ability to offer custom solutions
      Since asset based 3PLs have their own carriers, those are the carriers they will rely on to move your freight. Their carriers likely specialize in specific lanes or services or may only have a presence in one part of the country. If those specializations match up with your specific needs, it could be a great partnership. However, if they don’t or if your needs vary, you likely won’t be receiving the most efficient or cost-effective service.

      On the other hand, non-asset based logistics providers have a wider network. They have access to multiple carriers which allows them to source the one that most closely aligns with your needs. That flexibility allows them to offer more customized solutions for your freight.

    2. Level of control over the supply chain
      Asset based 3PLs have more control over the supply chain because they own the assets that comprise it. What that results in is the ability to set their own pricing more easily because they don’t have to negotiate with an outside party. Asset based 3PLs also have more direct control over carrier issues and errors. They can implement changes with their carriers that non-asset based 3PLs simply can’t.

      Non-asset based 3PLs have less control, especially when it comes to what the carrier does. That’s because there are more hands involved with moving your freight. However, a quality broker will know what to look for to prevent issues and will have high standards for the carriers it keeps in its network.

    3. The underlying interests of the 3PL 
      It’s hard to argue that asset based 3PLs aren’t inherently biased. They own their own warehouses and trucks, so it’s obviously in their best interest to have shippers use them over others.

      The interests of a non-asset based 3PL are more in line with the shipper than the carrier. The best brokers will work on your behalf to find discrepancies in your invoices, provide claims assistance, and use their expertise to help you ship more efficiently.

    How to decide between an asset based 3PL and a non-asset based 3PL
    The type of 3PL that is best for you will largely depend on your specific needs. In general, you want to make sure you are working with a broker that can get you access to capacity when you need it most. From there, you should evaluate the typical characteristics of your freight so you can find a 3PL that is closely aligned.

    No matter the situation, you need to work with a quality broker that is dedicated to finding you the freight solutions you need. PartnerShip is a non-asset based 3PL with an extensive network of alliances designed to help you ship smarter. Contact us to learn how you can save on your freight and improve your operations.

    Contact us today!

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