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How to Ship Anything - Helpful tips for the Freight Industry


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This informative guide will have you fully prepared when the truck arrives.

In case you are reading this guide, the chances are that you have not shipped before, or else you are new to how the process works; however, you may be part of a warehouse crew and so are familiar with most of this stuff already. This guide will take care of all of the cornerstones of the freight industry and can map out the road to preparedness for shippers. If you have less than 150 pounds (68 kilograms) in total commodity weight (something in a smaller box), service has to be requested from a parcel carrier like UPS, FedEx, or DHX. Small items for parcel carriers usually are not the subject of this shipping guide. This really is about shipping pallets, crates, and large trucks carrying big things. The shipping industry is highly detail-oriented, and it is important to get ready in full confidence by permitting an understanding of how to become ready to ship your items effectively.


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I: Short Glossary of Essential Terms

shipper - the cause party to the shipment in which the freight is collecting.
consignee - the destination/receiving party where the freight is delivering.
freight class - the rating used on LTL shipments based upon density
density - the quantity of space a shipment occupies (a measurement in pounds per cubic foot)
FTL - full truckload
LTL - below truck load

II: Which truck is required?

There can be vehicle and trailer requirements based on the weight and dimensions of the commodity being transported. There are lots of various types of trailers that are connected to the truck. For example, a flatbed is an open air platform without any covering. Also, a step-deck flatbed includes a lowered center in an attempt to acquire enough vertical space for tall components of order to clear bridges. A dry van is among the most typical type of enclosed trailer, which is what you would consider to be an average semi-truck trailer or commonly called a 53-foot van. Many smaller delivery box trucks of 40' or 24' long are more accessible for small enterprise and residential deliveries when a longer vehicle trying to exit a tight street/facility access is difficult and dangerous.

The weight and dimensions of the stress will determine whether the shipment is often a full truckload (FTL), a under truckload (LTL), or a volume/partial truckload (VPTL or PTL). A shipment totaling just one or two pallets or a few crates, generally not with over 10 to 16 feet of trailer space (according to carrier), means that your shipment qualifies as LTL. Most of these shipments require your commodity be assigned a freight class through an item classification system. Note for FTL or flatbed customers, prepare to create arrangements to load and unload the shipment through the truck especially if the desired goal would be to save money. The maximum weight to get a truckload is usually around 40 to 44 thousand pounds (18 to ~20 thousand kilograms ). If your shipment occupies 12-14 linear feet or more of trailer space, that qualifies as a volume or partial load.

III: About to ship

a. Do you need to palletize or crate your item?

Step one to preparing for a shipment is deciding on a handling unit that permits for your item(s) to become transported efficiently and safely. A handling unit is considered a forklift-ready preparation with the item to be shipped with. Oftentimes, the slot where forklifts and pallet jacks are inserted under the freight is called "cribbing". In a lot of cases, however, large things to be loaded on a flatbed truck can just be hoisted on to the truck with a forklift or other loading equipment and moved as being a piece and shackled by the platform appropriately (and maybe even covered with tarps for weather protection). Sometimes, ramps might even be available to drive or move vehicles or equipment on to the truck bed. In general cases when you need to palletize the shipment, standard pallets most often suffice to accommodate the handling with the items, but the following can be an extensive list of the sorts of shipping handling units:

- Pallets, also referred to as skids, are forklift-maneuverable platforms, the conventional sizes being 40" x 48" or 48" x 48" (length by width) and most commonly composed of plywood, though metal pallets will often be used, too. They are generally about 40 pounds in weight. It's possible to easily locate them behind most retail stores or shopping centers, plus they can also be obtained for free at other areas. A general rule when loading your pallet is usually to not try to accumulate the pallets any taller than 6-8 feet. Shrink wrap and/or straps are then commonly used to secure those items to the pallet. We recommend the items always boxed up or enclosed in cardboard. In the instance of engines, motor, and transmissions, a standard pallet with straps will often suffice perfectly.

- Crates are forklift-maneuverable plywood boxes constructed by either the shipper or appropriate local crating service as well as purchased from a vendor of pre-assembled crates. Crating is frequently necessary for furniture like sofas and couches and it is a logical practice so that you can protect any bulky or delicate items through the shipping process. Open crates are occasionally used as well, which is a box of wood framed across the item(s) for the pallet instead of completely enclosed in plywood like with a normal crate. Further, the crate's contents more than likely need to be secured or strapped down inside also.

- Carton is the industry term for cardboard boxes for that items. It's not often, but may a carrier accept a loose box or two without palletizing.

- Containers are metal trailers which might be loaded onto flatbed trucks and a lot often used in international shipping. As soon as your item moves by sea and doesn't occupy a full container, it really is consolidated with other items inside of a container. When the container is moved short distances (by way of example, from the port), this is whats called drayage.

- Reels can be used wire, cable, as well as other wrapped material. They're usually placed on the truck as a standalone piece, however, if there is a significant quantity of them or weigh over 75 pounds (about 34 kilograms), they are going to need to be palletized prior to dispatch.

- Rolls, much like reels, are used to move items which are wrapped around like hoses, bubble wrap, etc. Carpet can often be shipped as standalone rolls without palletizing.

- Drums and cylinders are great containers to go on top of pallets or small skids- many currently have cribbing on them. The only difference between drums and cylinders is the material it's made out of.

- Tubes are widely-used often for shipments which aren't very heavy. The most typical ones are made with cardboard, with plastic end caps to carry the items inside. A shipper may wish to put some tape over the sealed lids for additional security. Tubes aren't shipped very often on LTL carriers. This really is mainly used to ship via parcel carriers.

- Totes are similar to buckets, typically created from a plastic derivative with all the cribbing prepared at the bottom for forklift and pallet jack access.

- Loose pieces are certainly not usually allowed by LTL carriers like a pallet provides stability from pieces bouncing around inside a truck and getting damaged. This is usually just listed on the shipping documentation and confirmed from the carrier for acceptance. The things may have wheels and so are loaded on the truck as is also. Pieces are also counted because when many boxes are being shipped or the quantity of objects inside a box.

b. Shipment is in a position!

So far, we have mentioned a number of different types of preparations for shipping, but understanding how to think with a mindset with regards to item protection and logistics will boost your overall experience in shipping. Learn how to realize when ramps on a flatbed are required to load, say, golf carts (or other wheeled items or vehicles) onto the truck. Another scenario might require a step deck truck if the freight is 9 feet in height or even a little taller. Putting the freight in cardboard boxes and strapping pallet is generally a great and simple strategy to ship. There are even foam packing materials it is possible to stuff inside the packaging for additional protection. Definitely recommended! In addition we suggest strapping or tying down the freight as well. For furniture shippers, yet another excellent solution is to get some foam furniture pads to strap on your pieces on the pallet for defense. Sometimes, people place blankets within the surface of the items for cover purposes. Again, in a LTL shipment, the freight should be secured on to the skid or made forklift-ready with another handling unit just before time of pickup. In FTL shipments, the shipper should be prepared to load and unload using a logistics strategy for such.

Now you must decided the appropriate approach to ship. Your freight is secured capable to be loaded. Deciding on the best handling unit, packing the shipment appropriately, deciding on any necessary special services will be the most integral stages for being prepared to ship. Young people need to be innovative concerning any packing materials they utilize for safeguarding the commodity. It is advisable to keep safety of the cargo in mind and also to allow proper time to prepare for shipping. At a later date we will discuss comprehensive insurance options, but now, let's talk about what constitutes a special service.

c. Weighing and measuring the shipment

Obtaining a precise weight measurement for your freight can often present difficulties as LTL carriers price shipments based upon the weight as well as the freight class. You may well be a shipping veteran scanning this article with an industrial weight scale your warehouse, so this could be a topic you are acquainted with, but residential shippers don't often have access to a scale, and now we have some tips on how to obtain an accurate weight measurement. Try choosing the details of any and all model numbers on your products online, plus a weight measurement could be found. In cases whenever you only have boxes to palletize, get up on a scale and weigh yourself first. Then, ascend to the scale with boxes and subtract your body weight from the measurement, and you can target an accurate weight like that. Remember, the pallet include about 40 pounds to the shipment, and crates may add up to or even more than 50-60 pounds. For those who have your shipment prepared, it is time to bring out the tape-measure and obtain the length, width, and height (L x W x H).

d. Special services

The industry is shaped around a consistent model of business-to-business shipments. Other things required is typically assessed within an accessorial surcharge. There are a number of accessorial types for example liftgates, residential service, inside pickups & deliveries, limited access entry, or appointment surcharges.

The prime example of this is for those who require a method to load those things on or off of the truck should order a hydraulic liftgate, the steel mechanical platform about the back of a truck. If the liftgate has been requested, your truck driver will come furnished with a pallet jack, another type of heavy lifting device utilized by LTL carriers used to wheel the freight to the proper position for loading/unloading. When the shipment is light enough to become lifted manually about the truck or the shipper features a forklift or other hoisting device, customers can forego this excess cost.

Residential pickups and deliveries mean an automatic appointment is scheduled to be sure the someone is present sometimes of service and usually imply a liftgate truck will probably be required as well. Carriers will sometime send a reduced, 24-foot truck to accommodate the tighter turns linked to residential streets; however, this is simply not always the case. You may also have your freight ready within your garage (as long as there won't be huge hills on the driveway).

Another accessorial is classed as an inside pickup or delivery once the truck driver is motivated to enter inside a building for pickup or delivery once the freight is not prepared with the roadside or the loading dock.

Oftentimes, trucks are required to enter into limited access areas like storage facilities, schools, farms, churches, prisons, and also other places with gated entry. As a visit to a construction site or trade exhibition may be classified distinctly, it is comparable in nature and expenses nearly the same.

If the commodity needs to stay chilled as well as frozen, this may have to have a refrigerated truck (also referred to as "reefer") if you need to ship with multimodal shipping services, which lowers carrier availability and raises fuel and resource requirements. Using dry ice for any pallet or two may help you circumvent excess costs of frozen shipping while still keeping the items chilled during transit.

Appointments for pickups and/or deliveries are incorporated into residential service fees, however, you should have the methods to determine if there will be a tiny extra cost from the carrier. Usually, an appointment can be made to the consignee for delivery within 30 minutes to an hour ahead of truck arrival, but if you wish to hold it for appointment time, you'll get a phone call and a precise here we are at pickup, instead of a 3-4 hour time window.

There are special regulations when shipping hazardous materials (HAZMAT). Anything that is considered flammable gets a small HAZMAT charge, and documentation will likely be needed to determine the UN (U . n .) number. Any active batteries must also be disconnected ahead of pickup. Paint, fertilizer, glue and sealants, ammonia, or oil are common examples of commodities which might be classified as HAZMAT.

Comprehensive insurance coverage may be purchased to secure yourself against damages and losses. For new items, the liability offered with a basic freight quote is set at $10/pound. For used or pre-owned items, that figure comes down to about $.10/pound. It is critical to ensure that you have accounted for the value of the commodity. Remember, the freight must still be prepared/palletized for shipping to qualify for coverage. Also, be sure to inspect for damages on arrival and notate anything visible towards the delivery receipt when signing at delivery time.

Occasionally, companies will ship over maximum weight and over-dimensional objects. These could require permits and, if applicable, police escorts for that driver. These are only in certain, special cases when the shipment is huge or occupies over 8 feet wide.

e. International ocean & air shipping

International freight usually transports via ocean container to avoid wasting the most on freight costs. This can be referred to as FCL (full containerized load) and LCL (below containerized load). Container ship freight as well as air freight are rated by volume in cubic meters except to Hawaii along with other major U.S. island freight lanes that are rated in cubic feet. Alaska is a notable exception which is why freight is rated from the pound in the busy ocean barge lanes between Seattle-Tacoma harbors to Alaska's major port cities. Air cargo is usually used on products that have to be expedited to prevent business loss as a result of delays in other modes of freight transportation which is more expensive than shipping by boat; however, this still requires working days transit times for both ends, unlike airline passenger traffic. Air cargo uses different volume-based measurements with respect to the carrier but are basically calculated from cubic centimeters or inches.

When shipping internationally, the key added element being understood is importation costs that is assumed by the Importer of Record (generally the consignee), but this could be a 3rd party as well. Often the actual freight expenditure is less than the combined import costs in the destination charges paid with the consignee in local currency and customs, duties, and local sales tax in addition to a customs broker's rates. Clearly, these larger pair of details and costs are determined by the country of import as well as the carrier. It's often required and greatest advised to use a local customs broker when importing as a way to correctly assess total import costs with duties and taxes together with properly filing entry paperwork together with the government of the country of import.

IV. Making the pickup

Before a truck is dispatched, a shipping agreement will be sent to the billed party for your quoted freight rate, and payment arrangements are produced. Many people opt to charge a credit or debit card to pay for the freight, however if you ship frequently, other options may be available. Then, the shipper get their shipping documentation.

The balance of Lading is the only document important to get the freight on the truck, although sometimes other documentation is essential, especially when dealing with border crossings. At time of pickup, you will require this document printed out to hand to the driver. This document has each of the itemized details for the shipment, including any freight classes, NMFC item numbers, item details and dimensions, addresses, as well as the rest of it. It is vital to have the document available and to be prepared to load. After pickup has been manufactured, all that is left is tracking and delivery.

Unfortunately, trucking organizations are not moving companies, and frequently they will not hesitate to refuse a load and drive off within their truck without the item(s) being picked up aboard. This usually occurs when the shipper is unprepared to meet the truck for loading, has the freight improperly packaged/palletized, or driver is made to delay or wait to much time. Obviously, being properly prepared is really a key priority to successful shipping.

V. Tracking and delivery

Alright! So, your shipment has become picked up, and it's on the way! People like to understand the latest status with their shipment, so that is why most carriers made it easy to find this information online. With most carriers, the shipment will be assigned a PRO tracking number during the time of pickup and made for sale in the carrier's billing system usually day after pick-up & processing from the origin terminal. Once the number is made available, one can possibly view the tracking facts about the carrier's website, or call the carrier and identify the shipment with the PRO number. This is one way to decipher approximately if the actual delivery will require place. As delivery time systems for LTL shipments, keep in mind if you need to schedule an appointment or to get advanced notice discover regularly at the delivery location. Again, residential deliveries are common held for about eventually while an appointment is scheduled. The shipment has been completed as of the point when the delivery receipt (Proof Delivery) has been signed and released by the carrier to the consignee at delivery. Make sure you inspect and notate any visible damages to that particular document before signing for the freight.

VI. Spending less

Freight costs might be intimidating and expensive; thus, saving money takes top priority. First off, residential shippers can save money if they're willing and able to visit the freight terminal to pick up or drop off their LTL shipment within a pickup truck or other suitable vehicle. By way of example, since YRC Freight assesses $50 per residential entry and $50 per liftgate, the shipper saves $100 about the bill by going to the terminal; however, sometimes this is not a feasible means, and the special services are still required because the customer cannot obtain the items at the terminal or there is not one close enough to venture to. Another way that shippers can conserve money on LTL shipments is when the item is crated, them will receive a better freight class and, therefore, a more competitive rate. For example, say someone was shipping a motor room fire and decided to use it in a crate, the freight class would drop from 85 to 70, along with the freight rate would come down a little bit. Another case in the event the freight class would drop is the place the item is disassembled (a sofa taken apart or machinery disassembled). These kind of shipments are termed as knocked down (KD) instead of a fully-assembled item known as standing upright (SU). A guide is that the more compact a shipment is (the less space it occupies), better the freight class is going to be from the LTL carriers. For truckloads, shippers must be mindful that they need to expect you'll load within two hours or quicker. Any extra time usually implies higher prices to make up the carrier to the time spent waiting. Flatbed trucks are more expensive than standard vans, if you decide to can find a way to load your shipment in to a van, you can save money; however, you may require the ability to load the shipment horizontally onto the truck. On another note, refrigerated and frozen shipments have become expensive. With the use of dry ice or styrofoam coolers with ice packs, a client may be able to forego our prime pricing of temperature-controlled trucking.

a. Upcharges and rate changes

Everybody hates when rate increases occur, but occasionally a bill will be adjusted. This informative guide is laid out in a way that should minimize the problems of working with trucking companies and, therefore, the amount of re-bills you will receive (if any).

Detention expenditure is assessed by carriers when the driver is forced to wait more than about 1 hour 30 minutes to make the pickup or dropoff. When detention charges are levied, this often reflects poor planning beforehand.

A dry run fee is usually assessed when the carrier visits a location for pickup or delivery, with no one is present. Again, it can be imperative to be ready to load with the Bill of Lading available at time of service.

Once the freight is not measured properly, an LTL carrier will employ a re-classification if the commodity is assigned a freight class according to its density.

In shipments the place that the delivery address is modified, a re-consignment fee can be a small addition to the complete freight cost.

VII. Conclusion

Though there are other scenarios that call for rate changes (port visits, trailer drops, etc.), this guide should educate people on good practices, ways to avoid these situations, as well as on what to expect from shipping carriers inside the freight industry. As with other ventures in life, shipping requires planning and adequate time for preparation. With experience, you'll become intimately acquainted with all the aspects of shipping and logistics. From pickup to delivery, this informative guide covers every single part of the process, though there is also subjects within the freight industry to elaborate on that could double the size of this guide. When proper attention and planning is made for shipping, customers will avoid excess upcharges and also the hassles of utilizing trucking companies. Shipping can even be expensive, so be sure to go find a broker who is able to set you track of competitive freight rates. All the best and thanks for reading.