Freight shipping can be very complex despite its simple appearances, so we have demystified some of the main areas that anyone considering shipping should be aware of prior to shipping their valuable freight safely to its final destination.

freight shipping

3PL’s ?

You’ve probably come across the name 3PL a lot recently; it’s an acronym for third-party logistics. Skyfer Logistic is one such 3PL. 3PL’s are firms that have a vast array of services under one organization, whether its less than truckload, full truckload, flat bed, dry van, refrigerated, intermodal, even warehousing and distribution, or solving an international shipping dilemma by ocean or air. If you have a need, they can usually fill it. Their consultative approach to solving client issues causes them to be regularly sought after by numerous firms, even fortune 500’s.

How are Freight Shipping rates determined?

Shipping rates are calculated via several factors that include the freight type, its weight, dimensions, mode of transport to be used, as well as the distance involved. LTL in the Unites States is usually rated by class, which takes into account the NMFC number that was created by the National Motor Freight Traffic Association in order to standardize the process of pricing a number of commodities. There are 18 classes identified between the numbers 50 up to 500. This classification process takes into account the weight, dimension, density, stowability, value and liability of each commodity in question.  Typically the lower the number or class of you product, the lower the freight rate.

How critical is it that I determine the weight and dimensions of my cargo?

Its extremely important to get this freight shipping information exact, as it will accurately reflect your rate and it also serves a second issue that is imposed by the department of transportation, which is that each van has a weight limit imposed upon it while driving down a highway. Make no mistake about it, all carriers will weigh your freight in order to avoid those hefty fines and if there is a re weight of your freight, you could be in store for some pricing adjustments that could be shocking.

Did you say BOL?

A BOL is another acronym for bill of lading; it serves several purposes by determining a contract for services rendered between the carrier and shipper, itemizing the services rendered, what is to be shipped, and the details or number of pieces and the weight of the shipment. Its place of departure, as well as its destination. Additional information such as who is to be billed can also be itemized, as well as which customs broker is to be used, in the case of a shipment that is travelling cross border. The shipper will make several copies, usually three, of the BOL and retain one for his records once the carrier has signed it as having been received.

How do I package my freight in order to avoid damage?

Simple issues can wreak havoc with your shipment when basic freight shipping packaging is not used. Ensure that you shipment does not exceed or overlap the skid base being used. Use a tight wrap while shrink-wrapping to firm up the skid in order to avoid shifting. Do not over-stack the height of the skid, and use adequate box strength. When in doubt, crate your cargo, since you the shipper are responsible for ensuring that your product can withstand the rigors of transportation.

How to ship hazardous (HAZMAT) cargo?

The first thing to be aware of is that not all carriers are certified to handle hazardous cargo and there are stringent guidelines that the shipper must follow as well. Your first responsibility by law is that you must declare to the carrier that you are shipping HAZMAT material. Here’s is a list of your responsibilities:

Determine whether a material meets the definition of a “hazardous material”

Proper shipping name

Class/Division

Identification number

Hazard warning label

Packaging

Marking

Employee training

Shipping papers

Emergency response papers

Telephone number

Certification

Compatibility

Blocking and bracing

Placarding

Security plan

Incident report

What’s an ETA?

ETA: estimated transit time. Clients often confuse the transit time and the estimated transit time as fact. Nothing can be guaranteed in terms of transit, especially when it comes to shipping LTL (less than truck load) freight. Point in fact, to get a rough estimate of the transit time, never include the day of pick up, then you can use the ETA from there to get an idea of the transit time. Usually that transit time is achieved ninety-five percent of the time. As I stated, there are no guarantees with less than truckload due to the simple fact that the carrier must pick up, transport, and deliver numerous shipments that all have their own challenges at times, which could be as simple as a delay in offloading at one facility.

While I have not covered all of the nuances of shipping cargo, I do hope this has helped you get a grip on your next shipping experience.