So.. You’re Looking for Cheap Shipping for Your Freight…
Well, the number one factor that increases freight costs is time. Think about it… If you mail a letter across country and it takes a week to get there it’s 45 cents . But if you want it to get there in two or three days it’s ten times that, or for overnight, it’s triple! Traditional LTL (Less than Truck Load) freight works the same way.
One possible reason for this is because cost to ship is based on how full the trucks need to be to be profitable for the carrier. For example; they may estimate a week to fill up a truck (with as many as 10 or 20 different peoples shipments) and get it from the Los Angeles Area to The Atlanta Area (LTL Carriers call this 5 days, as transit times are quoted in “working” or “business” days, and do usually do not include weekends, holidays, or day of pick up) . But if a truck has to get to Atlanta in 3 days, it has to leave right away with whatever freight it has going to Atlanta at that point, and doesn’t have time to wait to collect more freight from other people. So if you request your cargo to get to Atlanta in 3 days, you basically are paying for other peoples freight that would have filled up the truck had it taken the full week to get there.
On the flip-side of that, I personally specialize in an “economy” shipping niche where i work with carriers who won’t let their trailers go until they are full. The wait is usually a few extra days to fill the trailers up before the truck leaves to the destination. So you may be looking at a week and a half on the Los Angeles to Atlanta example. The result for you is some of the most competitive pricing available in the industry!! In addition, if you are shipping from about 4 to 14 pallets or 5,000 to 23000 pounds, I monitor carriers traffic flow lanes and can usually find (again, if you allow a few extra transit days) carriers who need to fill trailers in your lane for a faction of the cost you may normally be quoted.
Another factor effecting shipping cost (especially in the case of the larger national LTL carriers Such as YRC, FedEx Freight, and UPS Freight), is transferring between terminals. To keep their trailers as full as possible, LTL carriers will use “Hubs” or “breakbulk” terminals. This is where your freight will get off loaded and re-loaded on to different trucks from point A to point B. For example, a nation wide carrier may send your freight from Los Angeles out right away on a trailer that is full the day it picks up. But that trailer is going to Phoenix.
Then they will put your freight on a full trailer going from Phoenix to Dallas, and then an other from Dallas to Mississippi, and then finally on to Atlanta. This way the freight is always moving, but takes a week to get to Atlanta instead of 3 days because it has to transfer to so many terminals on the way. As a rule of thumb, the smaller carriers usually will transfer to less terminals than the larger ones. So if you want to expedite your shipment from Los Angeles to Atlanta with these carriers, you are paying for them to bypass terminals on the way there, which still would cost a lot more, depending on how much faster you want it there and how many terminals need to be bypassed.
General pricing for LTL carriers is fixed on each carrier’s published pricing tariffs where customers can negotiate set discounts based on their shipping volume and other factors. But every shipment has a fixed price year round and doesn’t fluctuate with supply and demand as do Truck Load rates. At RIGO, we have some of the best pre-negotiated rates around (especially for economy transit shipments) and can negotiate on your behalf as well as supply some of the industries best on-line shipping tools for frequent shippers- AT NO COST!!!
If you are shipping Full Truck Load Quantities (apx 18 to 26 pallets or up to about 430000 pounds), Transit (for Over-The Road Trucking) is usually faster, as the truck driver will pick up you cargo, and drive straight to your destination. If one driver is driving the truck, a trip from Los Angeles to Atlanta would take 4 to 5 Calendar days (Truck Load carriers usually quote transit times in calendar days, as opposed to working days like LTL carriers). If there are two drivers in the truck, they can get from Los Angeles to Atlanta in as little as 2 to 3 Calendar days! And because the carriers usually want to see their trucks moving, there usually is no extra charge for two drivers. It is just a matter of whether a unit with two drivers is available. Cost for Full Truck Load (FTL) shipping is usually simply based on supply and demand. If freight is very heavy (which basically means there a lot of people shipping), for example, going West to East on any given day, the Truck Load cost for a shipment from Los Angeles would be high and it may be difficult to find a truck to cover your load. But let’s say freight is heavy from East to West. This would mean that there are a lot of trucks sitting in Los Angeles that want to go East. So it would be easy to find a truck for your load and cost less. The amount of freight shipping from one region to another will usually vary based on the time of year. But lately, amount of freight shipping from one region to another will usually vary based on the time of year. But lately, it is common for truckload availability to fluctuate on a weekly or even daily basis from or to any region.
Another way to save on your truckload costs is to ship intermodal (via rail). Rail shipping is really not as intimidating as you may think. It basically works the same way as Over The Road shipping. But the driver that picks up is not the driver that delivers. If you contact me to arrange a shipment via rail, a local trucking company would pick up a trailer from the rail ramp and drive it to you to get loaded and then take it back to the rail ramp. Then the full trailer (not just the contents inside) will get loaded onto a train. Then when the train gets to (in our sample case) Atlanta, the trailer gets taken off the train and a local Atlanta trucking company will drive it to the consignee (receiver) to get unloaded, and then take the empty trailer back to the rail ramp in Atlanta. These three steps are coordinated by one company and billed to you seamlessly as one Truck Load charge. Moving intermodal is usually considerably less that shipping over the road and does fluctuate upon lane availability, but not quite as much as Over The Road. Transit time via rail is usually just a little longer as well. In the Los Angeles to Atlanta example, maybe 5 to 10 Calendar days. Note that since Over The Road drivers are usually paid by the mile, whereas the local trucking company drivers who pick up and deliver rail shipments (or Draymen) are usually paid by the hour, Intermodal is more strict on loading and unloading time. (They usually allow one to two hours to load or unload the trailer). You will usually find intermodal more competitive on longer distances.
In summery, the bottom line is: the more time you allow for your shipment to arrive, the lower the cost!!