Detailed Information Can Lower Freight Costs & Secure CapacityWritten by Neal Willis
In order to better ensure freight fits their network and capabilities and they are hauling profitable freight, carriers are demanding an accurate portrayal of the big picture from a shipper. Carriers are pushing to increase their margins and operating ratios and, with the driver shortage and government regulations seriously affecting capacity, carriers are being selective on what business they put on their trucks. They are consistently seeking additional information on just about every aspect of a potential customer’s freight and, only by providing them with accurate and detailed information can shippers expect to secure capacity and aggressive rates.
Just as inaccurate information about a customer’s order can cause confusion and delay, and ultimately more money, inaccurate shipment information causes problems for carriers which, in turn, costs them more money. Capacity is tight, the retail season is upon us, and carriers have plenty of freight to haul. Carriers are expecting shippers to provide them with accurate information about the product(s) being delivered, just as shippers rely on their customers to provide them with accurate order information.
Carriers are asking for pictures of the freight and scanning it with density machines to ensure they have been provided accurate commodity descriptions, dimensions and weights. They are also scrutinizing packaging and handling information. If shipments aren’t packaged in a way that makes the freight easily transportable by the carriers, in addition to taking more time for the carriers to properly handle, it can increase the likelihood of freight damage and claims, which makes handling more costly for the carriers. If shipments aren’t being packaged with proper protection according to NMFC guidelines, carriers may turn down the opportunity to handle the business.
Providing historical data files, general ledger numbers and/or forecasts to carriers about your freight is no longer sufficient information for them to extend pricing to shippers. Carriers want good, dense freight that is properly packaged and accurately described, and density machines have made it easier for carriers to identify wrongly labeled and mis-classed freight. The days of blindly bidding out freight with blank data sheets are behind us.
Shippers should expect to comply with a carrier’s requests for additional information on their freight or they can expect to pay even more than they currently pay for their shipments, either in the form of higher rates, more damages, longer transit times, or all of the above. By taking time to understand the opportunity up front, carriers can better weed out bad freight from their networks. It’s not as if they are struggling to find shipments to haul, and savvy shippers are increasingly willing to cooperate with a carrier’s requests for detailed freight information.
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