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How to Ship Anything - A Guide to the Freight Industry

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

If you're reading this guide, the probabilities are that you have not shipped before, or else you are new to how the procedure works; however, you're likely to be part of a warehouse crew and so are familiar with most of these things already. This guide will take care of 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 box), service should 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 is about shipping pallets, crates, and massive trucks carrying big things. The shipping market is highly detail-oriented, and it is important to be ready in full confidence by letting an understanding of how to be ready to ship your items effectively.

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I: Short Glossary of Essential Terms

shipper - the origin party to the shipment from which the freight is buying.
consignee - the destination/receiving party the place that the freight is delivering.
freight class - the rating allotted to 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 kind of truck is required?

There might 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 attached to the truck. For example, a flatbed is an open air platform without having covering. Also, a step-deck flatbed has a lowered center to be able 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 a standard semi-truck trailer or commonly called a 53-foot van. Many smaller delivery box trucks of 40' or 24' in total are more accessible for business and residential deliveries the place where a longer vehicle wanting to exit a tight street/facility access is tough and dangerous.

The body weight and dimensions of the strain will determine whether the shipment is often a full truckload (FTL), a lower than 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 10 to 16 feet of trailer space (based on carrier), means that your shipment qualifies as LTL. Most of these shipments require your commodity be assigned a freight class via an item classification system. Note for FTL or flatbed customers, prepare to make arrangements to load and unload the shipment in the truck especially if the desired goal is to save money. The maximum weight to get a truckload is usually around 40 to 44 thousand pounds (18 to ~20 thousand kilograms ). In case your shipment occupies 12-14 linear feet or higher of trailer space, then it qualifies as a volume or partial load.

III: About to ship

a. Should you palletize or crate your item?

The initial step to preparing for a shipment is deciding on a handling unit which allows for your item(s) to be transported efficiently and safely. A handling unit is known as a forklift-ready preparation with the item to be shipped with. Oftentimes, the slot where forklifts and pallet jacks are inserted beneath the freight is called "cribbing". In many cases, however, large circumstances to be loaded with a flatbed truck can easily be hoisted about the truck with a forklift and other loading equipment and moved like a piece and strapped to the platform appropriately (and perchance even covered with tarps for weather protection). Sometimes, ramps might be available to drive or move vehicles or equipment to the truck bed. In general times when you need to palletize the shipment, standard pallets mostly suffice to accommodate the handling products, 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 typical sizes being 40" x 48" or 48" x 48" (length by width) and most commonly composed of plywood, though metal pallets are often used, too. They are usually about 40 pounds in weight. It's possible to easily locate them behind most retail stores or shopping centers, and they can also be obtained for free at other places. A general rule when loading your pallet is usually to not try to stack up 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 those things always boxed up or engrossed in cardboard. In the example of engines, motor, and transmissions, a typical pallet with straps will usually suffice perfectly.

- Crates are forklift-maneuverable plywood boxes constructed by either the shipper or appropriate local crating service or perhaps purchased from a vendor of pre-assembled crates. Crating is usually necessary for furniture like sofas and couches and is also a logical practice as a way to protect any bulky or delicate items through the shipping process. Open crates are sometimes used as well, the box of wood framed around the item(s) about the pallet instead of completely enclosed in plywood just like a normal crate. Further, the crate's contents probably need to be secured or strapped down inside also.

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

- Containers are metal trailers which might be loaded onto flatbed trucks and most often used in international shipping. Whenever your item moves by sea and occupy a full container, it's consolidated with other items in a container. When the container is moved short distances (for example, from the port), this is called drayage.

- Reels can be used wire, cable, and also other wrapped material. They normally are placed on the truck as being a standalone piece, but if there is a significant level of them or weigh over 75 pounds (about 34 kilograms), they will 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 is usually shipped as standalone rolls without palletizing.

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

- Tubes are widely-used often for shipments that are not very heavy. The most common ones are made with cardboard, with plastic end caps to support the items inside. A shipper might want to put some tape within the sealed lids for additional security. Tubes are certainly not shipped very often on LTL carriers. This can be mainly used to ship via parcel carriers.

- Totes act like buckets, typically made from a plastic derivative with all 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 within a truck and getting damaged. It's usually just listed on the shipping documentation and confirmed through the carrier for acceptance. Those things may have wheels and they are loaded on the truck as is also. Pieces are also counted by how many boxes are now being shipped or the amount of objects inside a box.

b. Shipment is ready!

So far, we have mentioned a number of different types of preparations for shipping, but learning to think with a mindset when it comes to item protection and logistics will enhance your overall experience in shipping. Figure out how to realize when ramps on the flatbed are required to load, say, golf carts (or another wheeled items or vehicles) onto the truck. Another scenario might call for a step deck truck when the freight is 9 ft . tall or even a little taller. Putting the freight in cardboard boxes and strapping pallet is usually a great and simple way to ship. There are even foam packing materials you are able to stuff inside the packaging for additional protection. Definitely recommended! We suggest strapping or tying on the freight as well. For furniture shippers, an excellent solution is to get some foam furniture pads to strap to your pieces on the pallet for cover. Sometimes, people place blankets on the surface of the items for defense purposes. Again, in any LTL shipment, the freight will probably 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 way to ship. Your freight is secured capable to be loaded. Selecting the most appropriate handling unit, packing the shipment appropriately, deciding on any necessary special services would be the most integral stages of being prepared to ship. People need to be innovative regarding any packing materials they utilize for protecting the commodity. It's important to keep safety from the cargo in mind and also to allow proper time to get ready for shipping. Down the road we will discuss comprehensive liability insurance options, but now, let's talk about what constitutes a special service.

c. Weighing and measuring the shipment

Getting a precise weight measurement for your freight can often present difficulties as LTL carriers price shipments based on the weight as well as the freight class. You may well be a shipping veteran looking over this article with an industrial weight scale your warehouse, so this can be a topic you are acquainted with, but residential shippers do not often have access to a scale, and we have some tips on how to ask for accurate weight measurement. Try locating the details of any and all model numbers on your products online, plus a weight measurement could possibly be found. In cases once you only have boxes to palletize, ascend to a scale and weigh yourself first. Then, stand on the scale with boxes and subtract your system weight from the measurement, and you'll target an accurate weight this way. Remember, the pallet will add about 40 pounds on the shipment, and crates may add up to or even more than 50-60 pounds. When you 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 normal model of business-to-business shipments. Everything else required is typically assessed in an accessorial surcharge. There are a number of accessorial types such as liftgates, residential service, inside pickups & deliveries, limited access entry, or appointment surcharges.

The prime example of this is for people who require a method to load those things on or off of the truck will likely need to order a hydraulic liftgate, that is a steel mechanical platform about the back of a truck. If a liftgate has been requested, your truck driver will come equipped with a pallet jack, a different type of heavy lifting device utilized by LTL carriers used to wheel the freight into the proper position for loading/unloading. When the shipment is light enough to be lifted manually to 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 be sure the someone is present at time of service and usually imply a liftgate truck will likely be required as well. Carriers will sometime send an inferior, 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 within your garage (as long as there aren't any huge hills for the driveway).

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

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

Once the commodity needs to stay chilled or even frozen, this may require 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. The usage of dry ice to get a pallet or two could help you circumvent excess costs of frozen shipping while still maintaining your items chilled during transit.

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

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

Comprehensive insurance plans may be purchased to secure yourself against damages and losses. For brand new items, the liability added to a basic freight quote is placed at $10/pound. For used or pre-owned items, that figure depends upon about $.10/pound. It is critical to ensure that you have taken into account the value of the commodity. Remember, the freight must still be prepared/palletized for shipping to be eligible for a coverage. Also, don't forget to inspect for damages on arrival and notate anything visible to the delivery receipt when signing at delivery time.

Occasionally, companies ship over maximum weight and over-dimensional objects. These might require permits and, if applicable, police escorts for the driver. These are only using, special cases when the shipment is big or occupies over 8 feet wide.

e. International ocean & air shipping

International freight usually transports via ocean container in order to save the most on freight costs. This really is referred to as FCL (full containerized load) and LCL (lower than containerized load). Container ship freight and also air freight are rated by volume in cubic meters except to Hawaii as well as other major U.S. island freight lanes that happen to be rated in cubic feet. Alaska can be 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 usually used on products that has to be expedited to prevent business loss due to delays in other modes of freight transportation and it is more expensive than shipping by boat; however, this still requires business days transit times on 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 principle added element to become understood is importation costs that is assumed by the Importer of Record (normally the consignee), but this could be a alternative party as well. Often the actual freight expenditure is less than the combined import costs of the destination charges paid through the consignee in local currency and customs, duties, and native sales tax in addition to a customs broker's service fees. Clearly, these larger pair of details and costs are dependent upon the country of import in addition to the carrier. It's often required and best advised to use a local customs broker when importing as a way to 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 your quoted freight rate, and payment arrangements are made. Many people opt to charge a credit or debit card to pay for the freight, though if you ship frequently, other choices may be available. Then, the shipper will get their shipping documentation.

The balance of Lading is the only document necessary to get the freight on the truck, although sometimes other documentation is essential, especially when dealing with border crossings. Sometimes of pickup, you will need this document reproduced 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, 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 information mill not moving companies, and quite often they will not hesitate to refuse a lot and drive off inside their truck without the item(s) to become picked up aboard. This usually occurs when the shipper is unprepared to meet the truck for loading, has got the freight improperly packaged/palletized, or the driver is made to delay or wait a long time. Obviously, being properly prepared is often a key priority to successful shipping.

V. Tracking and delivery

Okay! So, your shipment has become picked up, and it's in route! People like to be aware of latest status of these shipment, so that is why most carriers make it easy to find these details online. With most carriers, the shipment will be appointed a PRO tracking number before pickup and made accessible in the carrier's billing system the day after pick-up & processing in the origin terminal. When the number is made available, one can view the tracking information on the carrier's website, you can also call the carrier and identify the shipment with the PRO number. This is one way to decipher approximately when the actual delivery will take place. As delivery time approaches for LTL shipments, keep in mind if you need to schedule an appointment as well as to get advanced notice if you're not regularly at the delivery location. Again, residential deliveries are held for about some day while an appointment is scheduled. The shipment may be 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 to inspect and notate any visible damages compared to that document before signing for that freight.

VI. Conserving money

Freight costs can 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 grab or drop off their LTL shipment inside a pickup truck or other suitable vehicle. As an example, since YRC Freight assesses $50 per residential entry and $50 per liftgate, the shipper saves $100 on the bill by going to the terminal; however, sometimes it's not a feasible means, as well as the special services are nevertheless 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 when the item is crated, the product will receive a better freight class and, therefore, an even more competitive rate. For example, say someone was shipping a motor room fire and decided to put it in a crate, the freight class would drop from 85 to 70, as well as the freight rate will come down a little bit. Another case when the freight class would drop is when the item is disassembled (a settee taken apart or machinery disassembled). These kind of shipments are known as 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 higher the freight class will likely be from the LTL carriers. For truckloads, shippers should be mindful that they need to expect you'll load within two hours or quicker. Any extra time usually implies higher prices to create the carrier to the time spent waiting. Flatbed trucks cost more than standard vans, when you 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 to the truck. On another note, refrigerated and frozen shipments are extremely expensive. With the use of dry ice or styrofoam coolers with ice packs, a person may be able to forego the high pricing of temperature-controlled trucking.

a. Upcharges and rate changes

Everybody hates when rate increases occur, but occasionally an invoice will be adjusted. The guide is laid out in such a manner that should minimize the hassles of working with trucking companies and, therefore, the volume of re-bills you will receive (if any).

Detention expenditure is assessed by carriers once the driver is forced to hold back 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 spot for pickup or delivery, and no one is present. Again, it can be imperative to be ready to load together with the Bill of Lading in hand at time of service.

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

In shipments where the delivery address is changed, a re-consignment fee can be a small addition to the total freight cost.

VII. Conclusion

Even though there are other scenarios that call for rate changes (port visits, trailer drops, etc.), the guide should educate people on good practices, steer clear of these situations, and on what to expect from shipping carriers in the freight industry. Just like other ventures in daily life, shipping requires planning and adequate here we are at preparation. With experience, you will become intimately accustomed to all the aspects of shipping and logistics. From pickup to delivery, this guide covers every single part of the process, though there is also another subjects within the freight industry to elaborate with that could double the size of this guide. When proper attention and planning is designed for shipping, customers will avoid excess upcharges and also the hassles of utilizing trucking companies. Shipping can be expensive, so make sure you go find a broker who can set you on top of competitive freight rates. Good luck and thanks for reading.

Last updated 160 days ago by usaboxexpress1