LTL Shipping Overview
LTL shipping helps companies move from 1 to 6 to sometimes 12 pallets from here to there. Not every company has a full container or trailer worth of goods to send to their vendors or suppliers. Sometimes a shipment is not enough to fill a full truckload.
Companies then work with common carriers to pick up their freight through a pick-up carrier. These carriers are either regional, super regional, or national service providers. So through their pick-up carrier, they could go to their facility to pick up a shipment or pick up those few pallets. They take it to a pick-up terminal where they could de-consolidate the load. They then put it into a Lionel trailer for them to take it to its next destination. At that destination, they could also de-consolidate it again. It then gets on a delivery truck for the company to take it to its final destination.
When it comes to LTL, a lot of carriers are available. They could give you same day pick-up, depending on the time of day that you call into dispatch. It’s usually competitively-priced, and they usually have good transit times. Although this depends on the vendor that you select. A lot of businesses choose full truckload over LTL because they usually have a lot more goods to ship. So, when it comes to drive and freights, they usually have enough goods to fill a 53-foot container or trailer. Or any other kind of drive and equipment that they’re shipping to and from.
LTL Compared to Full Truckload Shipments
With full truckload shipments, there are a lot more types of equipment. They might have large equipment or large packaging that doesn’t fit into a trailer. They would then put it in a flatbed truck. Sometimes they need a good shipped at a refrigerated temperature. This includes anything that could be produce or something that’s perishable. They would move it through what we call a reefer, or refrigerated trailer. And, there are other types of equipment like double drops, et cetera. So, when it comes to a full truckload, a lot of it depends on the equipment type. Then a lot of equipment type depends on how much goods they’re actually trying to ship from point A to point B.
Technology Tracking in LTL Shipping
Technology helps freight brokers with LTL shipping by giving a portal for their customers. This offers easy access to their discounted LTL rates through their website. They can put in some basic information like an origin and destination zip. They can enter some commodity information such as freight class and weight. They can provide many options for the shipper. These can help them figure out what is the best carrier and the best transit time that works for them. Of course, they could also get tracking information through the websites. Or it is through easy access to the carrier’s website. They can also get documentation. This includes a proof of delivery, signed BOL, and their quote sheet or even shipping labels.
This technology could help customers get that information through the freight broker’s website. On the back office side, technology helps freight brokers communicate with many vendors. Usually, LTL shipping carriers work with five, 10, 15 carriers. This happens in one place, instead of having to go to each carrier website to find information. Also, this includes such things as the rate on a particular lane. Or to get tracking information, or to find documentation.
Rating Queue Improvements
Technology could actually help group up a lot of their vendors within a rating queue. This way they can get their quoting information right away. They can find out what the transit time is and what the rate is. They can find out what kind of service they’re providing, whether it’s normal or guaranteed service.
Once you select a quote, they can schedule a pick-up. You can do this without having to go on the website and re-enter that information or do any double entry. Without calling a carrier, they could actually go ahead and schedule that pick-up. They can pretty much repeat the whole shipment information to that dispatcher. You could communicate that dispatch to many providers. You would do this by sending an electronic message to the carrier, whether it’s through API or EDI 204.
The carrier will communicate that information to a TMS application or a freight brokerage application. This is how they collect tracking information. They could get information such as its location and whether it’s out for delivery. They can look up reference numbers that pertain to pick-up numbers or PRO numbers. This is instead of having to go to a website to get tracking information by typing in the PRO number. That information goes back to the freight brokerage without visiting websites or giving them a call.
Technological Help with Documentation and Accounting
Technology also helps with documentation. Once a shipment gets delivered, a lot of freight brokers need a proof of delivery before they invoice. With technology, they could get that information through an API integration with carriers. They can connect to most national and super regional common carriers.
You could get your invoices through an EDI 210. This hurries the billing process and also automates a lot of the auditing process as well. You can do this without having to receive a paper invoice from USPS.