• 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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  • Eco-Friendly Shipping is Possible with a SmartWay Partner

    10/16/2020 — Leah Palnik

    PartnerShip is a SmartWay Transport Partner

    If you are concerned with the environmental impact throughout your freight shipping supply chain, there are options for eco-friendly shipping.  

    The SmartWay Transport Partnership is a collaboration between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the freight industry and is designed to improve and streamline shipping operations so they use less fuel and generate less pollution.

    Launched in 2004, the SmartWay Partnership is a voluntary public-private program that:

    ·        provides a system for tracking, documenting and sharing information about fuel use and freight emissions

    ·        helps companies identify and select more efficient freight carriers and operational strategies to improve supply chain sustainability and lower costs from freight movement

    ·        reduces freight transportation-related climate change and air pollutant emissions

    In our ongoing effort to be an environmentally responsible freight shipping broker, PartnerShip is pleased to announce that it has once again been named a SmartWay Logistics Company Partner, for the fourth consecutive year. That means that we manage logistics in an environmentally responsible way and help reduce the environmental impact from freight transportation.   

    The EPA is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and there has been a lot of progress in the transportation industry. From NOx standards to fuel efficiency programs, these efforts have made a significant difference. Since its launch, the SmartWay program has helped partners avoid emitting 134 million tons of air pollution (NOx, PM, and CO2) and saved 280 million barrels of oil, which is the equivalent of eliminating annual electricity use in over 18 million homes.  

    EPA 50th anniversarysource: https://www.epa.gov/smartway/smartway-timeline

    More and more customers are making their shipping decisions based on responsible environmental performance, and being a SmartWay Partner means that we place a high value on sustainability and efficiency, just like they do. PartnerShip is proud to be an eco-friendly freight broker.

    If you’ve been looking for an environmentally friendly shipping company, contact PartnerShip. We can provide you with eco-friendly shipping options. Contact us at 800-599-2902 or get a quote now!


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  • What is the Difference Between Cross-Docking and Transloading?

    01/14/2020 — Jerry Spelic

    What is the Difference Between Cross-Docking and Transloading?

    They are common questions in logistics and warehousing: What is cross-docking? What is transloading? What is the difference between cross-docking and transloading?

    First, a definition of each of these freight services.

    Cross-docking is unloading inbound freight from one truck, holding it in a warehouse or terminal for a very short period of time, and loading it onto another truck for outbound shipping.

    Transloading is when inbound freight is unloaded, the pallets are broken down, and their contents sorted and re-palletized for outbound shipping.  

    Here is an example of cross-docking: A manufacturer needs to ship 20 pallets of products from the east coast to destinations in Texas, Florida and California. The 20 pallets are first shipped to a third-party warehouse in Cleveland, Ohio. A day later, 5 pallets are sent to Florida, 10 to Texas, and 5 to California on trucks bound for those destinations. Since the pallets were never unpacked and were only in the warehouse long enough to move them from one truck to another truck (and from one dock to another dock), they have been cross-docked.

    Using the same Cleveland, Ohio third-party warehouse, here is an example of transloading: 5 suppliers of a manufacturer ship a year’s supply of components to the warehouse. The components are stored until they are needed, at which time the warehouse picks them, assembles them into a single shipment, and ships it to the manufacturing facility.

    To recap, cross-docking is the movement of an intact pallet (or pallets) from one truck to another, and transloading is the sorting and re-palletizing of items.

    Both cross-docking and transloading services are specific logistics activities that can create benefits for businesses; especially ones that utilize a third-party warehouse.

    Benefits of cross-docking

    • Transportation costs can be reduced by consolidating multiple, smaller LTL shipments into larger, full truckload shipments.
    • Inventory management is simplified because cross-docking decreases the need to keep large amounts of goods in stock.
    • Damage and theft risks are reduced with lower inventory levels.
    • With a decreased need for storage and handling of goods, businesses can focus their resources on what they do best instead of tying them up in building and maintaining a warehouse.

    Benefits of transloading

    • Businesses can store goods and products near customers or production facilities and have them shipped out with other goods and products, decreasing shipping costs.
    • Businesses can ship full truckloads to a third-party warehouse instead of many smaller LTL shipments.
    • With storage and logistics managed by others, the need for building and maintaining a warehouse is eliminated.
    The bottom line is that these benefits translate directly into cost savings. To learn more about the full range of third-party logistics (3PL) services that PartnerShip has provided for three decades, and how cross-docking and transloading in our conveniently located 200,000+ square foot Ohio warehouse can benefit your business, call us at 800-599-2902 or send an email to warehouse@PartnerShip.com.


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  • Beyond Boxes and Pallets: 10 Other Ways to Move Freight

    01/03/2020 — Jerry Spelic

    Beyond Boxes and Pallets: 10 Other Ways to Move Freight

    When most people think of freight, it’s usually an image of the ubiquitous 40” x 48” wood pallet that comes to mind. But there are many other ways to move freight, including these lesser known, but still important, methods.

    Pallets. They are so important to freight shipping that even though we’ve covered pallets in depth before, we can’t not mention them here.

    In addition to wood, pallets can be made of plastic or metal. Plastic pallets are popular for export shipments because they don’t have to be heat treated to be used for international shipping, like wood pallets do. Aluminum and stainless steel pallets are strong and lightweight, and since they can be cleaned and sanitized, they can be used in food processing and pharmaceutical plants, where cleanliness is essential.

    Gaylords. Named after the company that first introduced them, Gaylords are pallet-sized corrugated boxes used for storage and shipping. Sometimes called pallet boxes, bulk boxes, skid boxes and pallet containers, Gaylords can have between 2 and 5 walls and are meant to be single-use containers. Frequently used as in-store displays as well as shipping containers, Gaylords can be used to ship items as diverse as watermelons, stuffed animals, and pillows. Depending on configuration and how many walls they have, Gaylords can hold from 500 to 5000 pounds each.

    Metal bins. Metal bins are typically made of steel and are mainly used in industrial applications where strong-sided containers are required to hold and move heavy and irregularly shaped items, like metal castings and forgings, stampings and scrap metal. Metal bins can be found in many different sizes and are essential in safely shipping heavy and potentially sharp objects.