If you frequently ship fragile freight, you’ve undoubtedly encountered your fair share of shipping hurdles, including delivery delays and product damage.
While occasional fragile freight shipping issues are unavoidable, you can significantly reduce the frequency of these challenges and protect your fragile freight by using less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping.
Let’s take a closer look at LTL shipping and the benefits it provides when dealing with fragile freight.
What Is LTL Shipping?
LTL shipping involves shipping freight that doesn’t fill up an entire trailer. In this case, your goods only occupy a portion of the trailer — the rest is filled with pallets from other LTL clients, each of which pays for space based on the dimensions of their products.
LTL shipping is an economical and efficient way to ship smaller loads. You can arrange more frequent shipments instead of reserving an entire trailer.
Five Benefits of LTL Fragile Freight Shipping
LTL shipping provides numerous benefits for merchants that need to ship fragile freight. You can tap into these benefits to fuel business growth and support back-end supply chain and delivery processes.
For example, LTL shipping:
Offers Cost Efficiency
Reserving an entire 48 or 53-foot trailer can be cost-prohibitive, especially if your load isn’t large enough to take up the entire trailer. Requesting specialized handling for your fragile freight will drive up costs even more.
Since LTL shipping involves using only a small segment of a trailer, you’ll enjoy much lower freight fees. As a bonus, many carriers offer discounted specialized handling rates because they aren’t dealing with a bulk order of hazardous or fragile goods.
Allows You to Ship Small Quantities
Waiting until you can fill an entire trailer is impractical, especially if you run a small business. By the time you need a dedicated trailer, downstream distribution centers will be running low on inventory.
LTL shipping resolves this problem by enabling you to ship small quantities of goods. By increasing shipping frequency, you can prevent stockouts and expedite delivery times. This translates to more sales and happier customers.
Provides Increased Security
LTL shipping can provide additional protection for your fragile freight. Reputable LTL carriers carefully handle your tightly packaged pallet to ensure that they don’t accidentally damage your fragile goods.
When preparing your freight for pickup, make sure it’s securely wrapped and packaged. It’s also a good idea to mark it as “fragile” or “breakable” so everyone knows it requires special handling.
Facilitates Load Tracking
Even though your freight will be lumped together with several other shipments, you’ll still be able to track its progress through the supply chain. Your LTL fragile freight will be handled and marked at various points of transit. You’ll receive an update about its status and location during each checkpoint.
Leading LTL carriers may even offer real-time tracking capabilities. They do so by using RFID and/or GPS technologies to relay location updates to a client portal. Such conveniences make it easy to keep up with your shipments. All you have to do is log in and provide your assigned tracking number to see if your order is on schedule.
Makes Handling Exceptions Easier
Despite a carrier’s best efforts, handling or delivery exceptions can still occur. A delivery exception is when your shipment is unexpectedly delayed due to poor weather, customs holds, etc.
Working with an LTL carrier makes handling exceptions easier, as only a small quantity of your products will be on the trailer that’s delayed. As such, you’ll have more options for responding to the delivery issue.
For instance, in the event of a prolonged delay, you can arrange a secondary LTL shipment to maintain seamless operations and minimize the impact on your customers.
How to Start Using LTL Shipping
Intrigued by the benefits of LTL shipping and ready to incorporate it into your logistics strategy? If so, there are two ways that you can start using LTL shipping.
The first approach involves doing your own research and finding LTL shippers in your area. Alternatively, you can work with a third-party logistics provider (3PL), like R2, and let them handle everything. A great 3PL will negotiate rates, schedule pickups, and address exceptions or other issues with your deliveries.
Contact R2 today to get started.