Truckload freight shipping logistics might be a mouthful, but it’s also one of the most popular shipping methods for small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) that have large shipments. But what exactly is truckload shipping, and what causes truckload shipping rates to fluctuate?
Truckload shipping is ideal for transporting large shipments that require minimal handling and quick transit. These shipments are considered “truckload” or “full truckload” (FTL) shipments because, unlike less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping, they take up all of the available space in the trailer. And while it might sound like this would be expensive, consolidating your shipments to full truckload can reduce your freight costs and streamline your shipping. This freight shipping method can be very cost-effective in the right circumstances, but it’s important to understand the various factors that could impact rates.
Read on as we break down the factors that affect your truckload shipping rates – and what you should consider when requesting a quote.
Factors that affect your truckload shipping rates
There are several factors that contribute to your final truckload freight shipping rate. Consider how the following can raise (or lower) your bill when requesting a truckload freight quote:
- Distance: Shipping rates fluctuate depending upon the distance between the sender and receiver zip codes. As you would expect, your shipping rate will increase as the distance between the sender and receiver goes up – especially for international shipments. By calculating this distance, you can more easily gauge your final cost.
- Shipping and handling: There’s a reason why people say that “time is money.” And in the shipping world, this is especially true. A significant difference between truckload freight and other shipping methods is the amount of loading, unloading and human interaction it takes to get your freight from point A to point B. Luckily, truckload freight shipments typically require very little handling, so the process of loading and unloading is minimal – meaning less chance of damage in transit and lower prices for you! Learn more about common freight shipping fees.
- Transportation type: When shipping freight by full truckload, there are a few transportation options to choose from – each with a different associated cost. Consider the following when deciding what type of vehicle your truckload freight shipping will require:
- Dry van: This type of enclosed trailer is ideal for protecting your freight from the elements, as long as you don’t require the trailer to be temperature-controlled. Dry van transport can generally carry up to 43,000 lbs. of boxed, palletized or loose freight, which makes it perfect for those shipments requiring more space than LTL provides. This “no frills” transportation method is not only efficient, but also typically the most affordable truckload shipping option.
- Flatbed: This transport method is typically used for uniquely shaped and oversized shipments. The trailer itself is fully exposed, making the shipment more accessible for loading and unloading via forklifts and cranes. Truckload rates for flatbed shipping tend to be higher, since handling each shipment requires special attention and extra machinery.
- Refrigerated Container: A refrigerated container (or reefer container) can ship both perishable and non-perishable items. They’re essentially identical to dry van trailers, but with the extra ability to regulate temperatures in transit. As with any specialized service, reefer truckload freight rates tend to be higher than regular dry van shipments, due to the extra fuel needed to control the temperature on the road.
- Delivery times: How fast does your cargo need to arrive? Does it need to be expedited? The sooner your freight needs to be delivered, the higher your rate will be. You should also consider peak delivery times (such as the busy holiday shipping season) and any current capacity concerns, which could both cause shipping rates to fluctuate.
Managing your truckload freight shipping may seem daunting, but luckily, Unishippers works with more than 40,000 truckload carriers to provide you with competitive truckload rates and flexible options for all of your freight shipping needs. Request a truckload shipping quote today.
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