The Ultimate Guide to Freight Shipments

Friday, August 2, 2013 By: admin

palletLet’s just make this clear: freight shipments are any shipments going on a pallet.  A basic UPS or Fed Ex shipment is not a freight shipment, however I will go over some of the confusion that can arise with those as well.  Shipments usually need to go on a pallet because of their weight and/or size.

When shipping via Freight or LTL (Less than Truckload) as some call it, there is a lot of mystery.  There are mystery fees that can arise, a mysteriously long lead time may occur, and you may mystified when they s
how up and they have no way of unloading your shipment!  This post is dedicated to get rid of this mystery, so you

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know as much as possible when that big freight truck shows up to your shipping destination.  To the left is an example of a typical freight truck as you can see these aren’t small and they are really designed for business to business shipments where said business has all equipment needed.

Equipment Needed:

In order to accept a shipment with no extra fees, you will need a forklift or a loading dock at the shipment location.  This is so the pallets can be unloaded off the truck with ease.  If you don’t have either of these the freight company can use a ‘lift gate’ to unload the shipment.  This can add between $50 and
unloading$100 to your shipping cost.  Now, understand some freight companies will not charge to use their lift gate, especially if they already have it on their truck.  But this is the exception, not the rule.  Also, if it’s just one pallet and you have people handy, most drivers will let you jump on the truck and just take the product off the pallet.  This is typically not a problem.  If you can borrow a forklift or ship to a location with a forklift/loading dock, that can make the processes smoother as well.

What to expect when they show up:

You can expect them to show up without warning.  All shipments have a contact and a phone number for the delivery, but the driver is not required to call.  The driver is expecting someone to be at the location of the shipment to sign for the shipment and show where to unload it.  If you want the driver to call 30 minutes or so before, this usually costs extra but depends on the carrier.  This is around $50 extra, typically.

Grounds for extra fees:

If it’s shipping to a school, church, residence or military address – mainly because this typically means it’s a limited access location.  This is usually around $50-$100 extra.  Basically anything other than a city or business address will incur extra charges.  As stated before, a call ahead is usually $50 or so extra.  If you don’t have a forklift and need to use the driver’s lift gate, fees for that are around $75.

Lead times on Freight Shipments:

Lead times on LTL/freight shipments are longer than a typical UPS shipment because they travel via a hub system.  Where it may be 5 business days to ship a package via UPS from California to New Jersey, that same shipment going on a pallet would typically take 7-8 business days.

We ship freight more often than UPS or Fed Ex, and created this post to help our customers regarding orders from our website, www.trans-supply.com.  As you can imagine, lots of freight questions arise so we figured a post detailing the whole process would be beneficial.

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