While you may be used to hearing “plan shipping ahead for the holidays” in relation to online shopping, it can relate to the world of LTL shipping as well. With the holidays coming up soon, we wanted to provide some quick tips we have learned over the years to help you best ship goods through the end of the year.
The first tip we have is to try and plan your shipping ahead. If you’ve been shipping for a while, you may have noticed that rates go up around the holidays. This is true whether you’re shipping LTL or a dedicated truck.
LTL companies are trying to meet deadlines and move as much as they can before the holidays. However, they are limited to how much they can fit on a truck. That means there may be a “premium” to have your goods shipped closer to the holidays. The same goes for a partial or dedicated truck. Those drivers are trying to get home for the holidays and often times will charge more for something that will take them out of their way.
To avoid high rates, try and plan ahead. You also want to avoid shipping the week of a holiday as those weeks tend to have the most expensive rates. If you know you will have shipments needed from Acadian, try to place your order as soon as possible so we can ship it before rates increase. The same goes for shipments you are sending to your customers. Try to get them booked before the holiday rush to avoid paying a premium.
Another thing to be mindful of is the transit times. Many carriers are already experiencing delays at terminals due to the ongoing pandemic. And these delays will only get worse during the holiday season.
As mentioned above, space is limited to what can fit on a truck. Carriers are going to strategically load their trailers to get as much on each truck as possible. That means anything odd-shaped may be left at a terminal for longer than usual. You should make sure to package your shipment in boxes or on a pallet when possible.
You should also try and ship earlier than normal. For instance, if the transit time is 2-days, and you know your customer needs the shipment on Friday, you may want to try and ship it on Monday or Tuesday in case there are delays. If you wait until Wednesday, there could be delays in transit and your customer may not have it on time.
Another way to get around delays in transit is by booking a shipment with guaranteed delivery. However, make sure you check with the carrier prior to booking. Some carriers are not offering this service right now due to the delays they are already experiencing, and some may not offer it during the holiday season.
In addition to delays in transit, it is important to check with your customer regarding their holiday closures. While many companies only close for the standard holidays, some may be closed for a longer amount of time. Others may close their offices, but keep their receiving open. If you book a shipment and the carrier tries to deliver it to a company that is closed for the holiday, you run the risk of being charged re-delivery fees. It is always best to check with your customers prior to shipping to them to make sure someone will be there to receive the shipment and, if not, work with them to plan the best time to ship the order.
Lastly, as the new year approaches, you want to keep an eye on your freight tariff. Many carriers will change or update rules on their tariffs, but they don’t always notify you. Keep an eye out for any major changes in tariff rules.
If there is a representative from the freight company you work with, reach out to them and ask if they know of any upcoming changes to your tariff. Each new year brings changes, and sometimes increases in freight costs. Sometimes reviewing your tariff or talking to your rep can help avoid surprise charges, or help you re-negotiate your contract to keep your rates cost-effective.
As always, we wish everyone a safe holiday season. If you have any questions about your shipping needs or Acadian’s shipping schedule, don’t hesitate to contact us.