How to Ship Anything - Helpful tips for the Freight Industry


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The guide will have you fully prepared in the event the truck arrives.

In case you are reading this guide, the likelihood is that you have not shipped before, or perhaps you are new to how the procedure works; however, you will be part of a warehouse crew and therefore are familiar with most of these things already. This guide covers all of the cornerstones of the freight industry and will map out the road to preparedness for shippers. For people who have less than 150 pounds (68 kilograms) altogether 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 aren't the subject of this shipping guide. This can be about shipping pallets, crates, and large trucks carrying big things. The shipping companies are highly detail-oriented, and it is important being ready in full confidence by getting an understanding of how to be ready to ship your items effectively.

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I: Short Glossary of Essential Terms

shipper - the cause party to the shipment where the freight is obtaining.
consignee - the destination/receiving party in which the freight is delivering.
freight class - the rating allotted to LTL shipments based upon density
density - how much space a shipment occupies (a measurement in pounds per cubic foot)
FTL - full truckload
LTL - less than truck load

II: Which truck is required?

There could be vehicle and trailer requirements with respect to the weight and dimensions of the commodity being transported. There are many various types of trailers that are linked to the truck. For example, a flatbed is an open air platform with no covering. Also, a step-deck flatbed carries a lowered center to be able to acquire enough vertical space for tall components of order to clear bridges. A dry van is easily the most typical type of enclosed trailer, which is what you would consider to be an average semi-truck trailer or commonly termed as a 53-foot van. Many smaller delivery box trucks of 40' or 24' in size are more accessible for small enterprise and residential deliveries the place where a longer vehicle attempting to exit a tight street/facility access is tough and dangerous.

The body weight and dimensions of the stress will determine whether the shipment can be a full truckload (FTL), a under truckload (LTL), or a volume/partial truckload (VPTL or PTL). A shipment totaling just a few pallets or a few crates, generally not with over 10 to 16 feet of trailer space (based on carrier), means that your shipment qualifies as LTL. These kind of 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 in the truck especially if the desired goal is to save money. The maximum weight for a truckload is usually around 40 to 44 thousand pounds (18 to ~20 thousand kilograms ). If the shipment occupies 12-14 linear feet or even more of trailer space, this qualifies as a volume or partial load.

III: On the point of ship

a. Should you palletize or crate your item?

Step one to preparing for a shipment is choosing the handling unit that permits for your item(s) to get transported efficiently and safely. A handling unit is known as a forklift-ready preparation in the item to be shipped with. Oftentimes, the slot where forklifts and pallet jacks are inserted underneath the freight is called "cribbing". In a number of cases, however, large things to be loaded with a flatbed truck can simply be hoisted onto the truck with a forklift or another loading equipment and moved as being a piece and strapped to the platform appropriately (and possibly even covered with tarps for weather protection). Sometimes, ramps might 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 commonly suffice to accommodate the handling of the items, but the following is definitely an extensive list of the sorts of shipping handling units:

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

- Crates are forklift-maneuverable plywood boxes constructed by either the shipper or appropriate local crating service and even purchased from a vendor of pre-assembled crates. Crating is usually necessary for furniture like sofas and couches and it is a logical practice in order to protect any bulky or delicate items during the shipping process. Open crates are often used as well, the industry box of wood framed throughout the item(s) on the pallet instead of completely enclosed in plywood much like a normal crate. Further, the crate's contents more than likely need to be secured or strapped down inside too.

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

- Containers are metal trailers which are loaded onto flatbed trucks and many often used in international shipping. Once your item moves by sea as well as doesn't occupy a full container, it can be consolidated with other items inside of a container. When the container is moved short distances (as an example, from the port), this is known as drayage.

- Reels can be used wire, cable, along with other wrapped material. They normally are placed on the truck like 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, similar to reels, are used to move goods that are wrapped around like hoses, bubble wrap, etc. Carpet is usually shipped as standalone rolls without palletizing.

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

- Tubes are widely-used often for shipments which are not very heavy. The most typical ones are made with cardboard, with plastic end caps to support the items inside. A shipper may choose to put some tape in the sealed lids for really security. Tubes are certainly not shipped very often on LTL carriers. This can be mainly used to ship via parcel carriers.

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

- Loose pieces are not usually allowed by LTL carriers being a pallet provides stability from pieces bouncing around in a truck and getting damaged. This is usually just listed on the shipping documentation and confirmed through the carrier for acceptance. Those items may have wheels and so are loaded on the truck since they are. Pieces are also counted due to the fact many boxes are now being shipped or the amount of objects inside a box.

b. Shipment is in a position!

So far, we have mentioned many different types of preparations for shipping, but learning how to think with a mindset when it comes to item protection and logistics will boost your overall experience in shipping. Learn how to realize when ramps on the flatbed are required to load, say, golf carts (or any other wheeled items or vehicles) to the truck. Another scenario might require a step deck truck in the event the freight is 9 feet in height or even a little taller. Putting the freight in cardboard boxes and strapping pallet is often a great and simple approach to ship. There are even foam packing materials it is possible to stuff inside the packaging for additional protection. Definitely recommended! We also suggest strapping or tying along the freight as well. For furniture shippers, an excellent solution is to get some foam furniture pads to strap in your pieces on the pallet for defense. Sometimes, people place blankets within the surface of the items for defense purposes. Again, in different LTL shipment, the freight shall 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 which has a logistics strategy for such.

Isn't it about time decided the appropriate approach to ship. Your freight is secured and capable to be loaded. Deciding on the best handling unit, packing the shipment appropriately, and selecting any necessary special services include the most integral stages for being prepared to ship. Individuals need to be innovative as to any packing materials they utilize for safeguarding the commodity. It is advisable to keep safety with the cargo in mind and also to allow proper time to get ready for shipping. Afterwards we will discuss comprehensive liability insurance options, but now, let's talk about what constitutes a special service.

c. Weighing and measuring the shipment

Finding a precise weight measurement to the freight can often present difficulties as LTL carriers price shipments based on the weight as well as the freight class. You could be a shipping veteran reading this article with an industrial weight scale your warehouse, so this could be a topic you are familiar with, but residential shippers tend not to often have access to a scale, and we have some tips on how to get the accurate weight measurement. Try picking out the details of any and all model numbers to your products online, and a weight measurement could be found. In cases once you only have boxes to palletize, get up on a scale and weigh yourself first. Then, climb onto the scale with boxes and subtract one's body weight from the measurement, and you can target an accurate weight that way. Remember, the pallet include about 40 pounds to the shipment, and crates could add up to or even more than 50-60 pounds. When you have your shipment prepared, it's time to bring out the tape-measure and obtain the length, width, and height (L x W x H).

d. Special services

The market is shaped around a consistent model of business-to-business shipments. Anything else required is typically assessed in an accessorial surcharge. There are a number of accessorial types like liftgates, residential service, inside pickups & deliveries, limited access entry, or appointment surcharges.

The best example of this is for those who require a method to load those items on or off of the truck will have to order a hydraulic liftgate, that is a steel mechanical platform on the back of a truck. If the liftgate has been requested, the truck driver will come furnished with a pallet jack, another type of heavy lifting device employed 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 includes a forklift or other hoisting device, customers can forego this excess cost.

Residential pickups and deliveries mean a computerized appointment is scheduled to ensure the someone is present sometimes of service and usually mean that a liftgate truck will probably be required as well. Carriers will sometime send a lesser, 24-foot truck to accommodate the tighter turns related to residential streets; however, it's not always the case. You may also have your freight ready with your garage (as long as there won't be any huge hills about the driveway).

Another accessorial is assessed as an inside pickup or delivery in the event the truck driver is asked to enter inside a building for pickup or delivery when the freight is not prepared on the roadside or the loading dock.

Oftentimes, trucks are requested to enter into limited access areas like storage facilities, schools, farms, churches, prisons, along with other places with gated entry. Being a visit to a construction site or trade event may be classified distinctly, it's still comparable in nature and costs nearly the same.

When the commodity needs to stay chilled or even frozen, this may have to have a refrigerated truck (often known 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 a pallet or two will assist you to circumvent excess costs of frozen shipping while still keeping the items chilled during transit.

Appointments for pickups and/or deliveries are a part of residential service fees, however you should have the ways to determine if there will be a little extra cost from the carrier. Usually, a phone call can be made to the consignee for delivery within A half-hour to an hour just before truck arrival, but if you wish to hold it for appointment time, you're going to get a phone call and a precise time for pickup, instead of a 3-4 hour time frame.

There are special regulations when shipping hazardous materials (HAZMAT). Any situation that is considered flammable turns into a small HAZMAT charge, and documentation will likely be needed to determine the UN (U . n .) number. Any active batteries will also need to be disconnected prior to pickup. Paint, fertilizer, glue and sealants, ammonia, or oil are typical examples of commodities that are classified as HAZMAT.

Comprehensive insurance policies may be purchased to secure yourself against damages and losses. For first time items, the liability included with a basic freight quote is scheduled at $10/pound. For used or pre-owned items, that figure comes down to about $.10/pound. It is advisable to ensure that you have accounted for the value of the commodity. Remember, the freight must always be prepared/palletized for shipping to be eligible for coverage. Also, don't forget to inspect for damages on arrival and notate anything visible on the delivery receipt when signing at delivery time.

Occasionally, companies ship over maximum weight and over-dimensional objects. These could require permits and, if applicable, police escorts for the driver. These are only in a few, 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 in addition to air freight are rated by volume in cubic meters except to Hawaii along with other major U.S. island freight lanes which are rated in cubic feet. Alaska is a notable exception for which 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 generally used on products that has to be expedited to prevent business loss because of delays in other modes of freight transportation and is also more expensive than shipping by boat; however, this still requires days transit times for both ends, unlike airline passenger traffic. Air cargo uses different volume-based measurements with regards to the carrier but are basically calculated from cubic centimeters or inches.

When shipping internationally, the main added element to get understood is importation costs that's assumed by the Importer of Record (usually the consignee), but this could be a alternative party as well. Often the actual freight expenditure is less than the combined import costs from the destination charges paid through the consignee in local currency and customs, duties, and native sales tax in addition to a customs broker's expenses. Clearly, these larger list of details and costs are determined by the country of import beyond the carrier. It's often required and finest advised to use a local customs broker when importing so that you can correctly assess total import costs with duties and taxes along 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 likely be sent to the billed party for the quoted freight rate, and payment arrangements are created. Many people opt to charge a debit or credit card to pay for the freight, however if you ship frequently, other choices may be available. Then, the shipper will get their shipping documentation.

The Bill of Lading is the only document vital to get the freight over a truck, although sometimes other documentation is needed, especially when dealing with border crossings. Sometimes of pickup, you will require this document printed out to hand to the driver. This document has all of the itemized details for the shipment, including any freight classes, NMFC item numbers, item details and dimensions, addresses, and all the rest of it. It is vital to have the document at hand and to be prepared to load. After pickup has been made, all that is left is tracking and delivery.

Unfortunately, trucking information mill not moving companies, and quite often they will not hesitate to refuse a load and drive off in their truck without the item(s) to become picked up aboard. This often occurs when the shipper is unprepared to satisfy the truck for loading, contains the freight improperly packaged/palletized, or the driver is made to delay or wait a long time. Obviously, being properly prepared is really a key priority to successful shipping.

V. Tracking and delivery

All right! So, your shipment has become picked up, and it's in route! People like to understand the latest status with their shipment, so this is why most carriers make it easy to find these records online. With most carriers, the shipment will be designated a PRO tracking number at the time of pickup and made obtainable in the carrier's billing system normally the day after pick-up & processing from the origin terminal. Once the number is made available, one can view the tracking information on the carrier's website, or call the carrier and find out the shipment with the PRO number. This is one way to decipher approximately once the actual delivery will need place. As delivery time approaches for LTL shipments, keep in mind if you wish to schedule an appointment as well as to get advanced notice if you are not regularly at the delivery location. Again, residential deliveries are typical held for about some day while an appointment is scheduled. The shipment has been completed as of the point when the delivery receipt (Proof of Delivery) has been signed and released with the carrier to the consignee at delivery. Make sure to inspect and notate any visible damages to that particular document before signing for that freight.

VI. Saving cash

Freight costs could be intimidating and expensive; thus, saving cash takes top priority. First off, residential shippers can save money if they're willing and able to visit the freight terminal to get 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 for the bill by going to the terminal; however, sometimes it's not a feasible means, and the special services are still required because the customer cannot get the items at the terminal or there is not one close enough to go to. Another way that shippers can help to conserve money on LTL shipments is actually the item is crated, an item will receive a better freight class and, therefore, a far more competitive rate. For example, say someone was shipping an electric train engine and decided to use it in a crate, the freight class would drop from 85 to 70, and also the freight rate will come down a little bit. Another case once the freight class would drop is when the item is disassembled (a settee taken apart or machinery disassembled). These types of shipments are called knocked down (KD) as opposed to a fully-assembled item known as standing upright (SU). A guide is that the more compact a shipment is (the less space it occupies), the better the freight class will likely be from the LTL carriers. For truckloads, shippers have to be mindful that they need to expect you'll load within couple of hours or quicker. Any extra time usually implies higher prices to pay the carrier to the time spent waiting. Flatbed trucks are more expensive than standard vans, if you can find a way to load your shipment into a van, you can save money; however, you may require the ability to load the shipment horizontally about the truck. On another note, refrigerated and frozen shipments are incredibly expensive. With the use of dry ice or styrofoam coolers with ice packs, an individual 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 an invoice will be adjusted. This guide is laid out in such a manner that should minimize the hassles of working with trucking companies and, therefore, the quantity 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 often assessed when the carrier visits a spot for pickup or delivery, with no one is present. Again, it really is imperative to be ready to load with all the Bill of Lading in hand at time of service.

In the event the freight is not measured properly, an LTL carrier will use a re-classification if the commodity is assigned a freight class as outlined by its density.

In shipments where the delivery address is modified, a re-consignment fee is really a small addition to the entire freight cost.

VII. Conclusion

Even though there are other scenarios that decision for rate changes (port visits, trailer drops, etc.), the guide should educate the reader on good practices, steer clear of these situations, as well as on what to expect from shipping carriers from the freight industry. Much like other ventures in daily life, shipping requires planning and adequate time for preparation. With experience, you may become intimately acquainted with all the aspects of shipping and logistics. From pickup to delivery, this guide covers every single area of the process, though there is also another subjects within the freight industry to elaborate with that could double the size this guide. When proper attention and planning is good for shipping, customers will avoid excess upcharges and also the hassles of working with trucking companies. Shipping can be expensive, so be sure to go find a broker that can set you track of competitive freight rates. All the best and thanks for reading.