3/17/2016 - How to Ship Anything - A Guide to the Freight Industry
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This informative guide will have you fully prepared if the truck arrives.

If you are reading this guide, the chances are that you have not shipped before, otherwise you are new to how the procedure works; however, you could be part of a warehouse crew and therefore are familiar with most of these things already. This guide will handle all of the cornerstones of the freight industry and may map out the road to preparedness for shippers. If you have less than 150 pounds (68 kilograms) altogether commodity weight (something in a small box), service has to be requested from a parcel carrier such as UPS, FedEx, or DHX. Small items for parcel carriers are not the subject of this shipping guide. This is about shipping pallets, crates, and large trucks carrying big things. The shipping marketplace is highly detail-oriented, and it is important to become ready in full confidence by permitting an understanding of how being ready to ship your items effectively.

USA Box Express

I: Short Glossary of Essential Terms

shipper - the original source party to the shipment from where the freight is picking up.
consignee - the destination/receiving party the location where the freight is delivering.
freight class - the rating allotted to LTL shipments based upon density
density - how much space a shipment occupies (a measurement in pounds per cubic foot)
FTL - full truckload
LTL - under truck load

II: Which kind of truck is required?

There can be vehicle and trailer requirements with regards to the weight and dimensions of the commodity being transported. There are several various types of trailers that are linked to the truck. For example, a flatbed is an open air platform without any covering. Also, a step-deck flatbed has a lowered center in order to acquire enough vertical space for tall items in order to clear bridges. A dry van is easily the most typical type of enclosed trailer, that is what you would consider to be a normal semi-truck trailer or commonly termed as a 53-foot van. Many smaller delivery box trucks of 40' or 24' in length are more accessible for business and residential deliveries when a longer vehicle wanting to exit a tight street/facility access is actually difficult and dangerous.

The body weight and dimensions of the stress will determine whether the shipment is 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 over 10 to 16 feet of trailer space (determined by 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 generate 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 ). Should your shipment occupies 12-14 linear feet or even more of trailer space, this qualifies as a volume or partial load.

III: Planning to ship

a. Are you looking to palletize or crate your item?

The first task to preparing for a shipment is selecting a handling unit that permits for your item(s) being transported efficiently and safely. A handling unit is considered a forklift-ready preparation in the item to be shipped with. Oftentimes, the slot where forklifts and pallet jacks are inserted underneath the freight is called "cribbing". In a lot of cases, however, large items to be loaded on a flatbed truck can just be hoisted onto the truck with a forklift or another loading equipment and moved as a piece and strapped to the platform appropriately (and maybe even covered with tarps for weather protection). Sometimes, ramps might be available to drive or move vehicles or equipment about the truck bed. In general times when you need to palletize the shipment, standard pallets most often suffice to accommodate the handling of the items, but the following is definitely an extensive list of the types of shipping handling units:

- Pallets, also known as skids, are forklift-maneuverable platforms, the standard sizes being 40" x 48" or 48" x 48" (length by width) and most commonly composed of plywood, though metal pallets will often be used, too. They are usually about 40 pounds in weight. One can possibly easily locate them behind most stores or shopping centers, plus they can also be obtained for free at other places. A general rule when loading your pallet is to not try to accumulate the pallets any taller than 6-8 feet. Shrink wrap and/or straps are then commonly used to secure those items to the pallet. We recommend those things always boxed up or covered with cardboard. In the instance of engines, motor, and transmissions, a standard pallet with straps will often suffice perfectly.

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

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

- Containers are metal trailers which might be loaded onto flatbed trucks and a lot often used in international shipping. Whenever your item moves by sea and doesn't occupy a full container, it can be consolidated with other items in a container. When the container is moved short distances (for example, from the port), this is whats called drayage.

- Reels can be used wire, cable, and other wrapped material. They normally are placed on the truck as being a standalone piece, but if there is a significant volume of them or weigh over 75 pounds (about 34 kilograms), they're going to need to be palletized prior to dispatch.

- Rolls, comparable to reels, are used to move goods that are wrapped around like hoses, bubble wrap, etc. Carpet is often shipped as standalone rolls without palletizing.

- Drums and cylinders are fantastic containers to go on surface of pallets or small skids- many have cribbing on them. The only distinction between drums and cylinders is the material it's made out of.

- Tubes are widely-used often for shipments which aren't very heavy. The commonest ones are made with cardboard, with plastic end caps to hold the items inside. A shipper may choose to put some tape on the sealed lids for really security. Tubes usually are not shipped very often on LTL carriers. This is mainly used to ship via parcel carriers.

- Totes resemble buckets, typically manufactured from a plastic derivative with the cribbing prepared at the bottom for forklift and pallet jack access.

- Loose pieces usually are not usually allowed by LTL carriers being a pallet provides stability from pieces bouncing around in a truck and getting damaged. Rise just listed on the shipping documentation and confirmed from the carrier for acceptance. Those items may have wheels and they are loaded on the truck since they are. Pieces are also counted due to the fact many boxes are now being shipped or the number of objects inside a box.

b. Shipment is in a position!

So far, we have mentioned several different types of preparations for shipping, but finding out how to think with a mindset regarding item protection and logistics will improve 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) to the truck. Another scenario might demand a step deck truck in the event the freight is 9 feet in height or even a little taller. Putting the freight in cardboard boxes and strapping pallet is often a great and simple approach to ship. There are even foam packing materials you'll be able to stuff inside the packaging for extra protection. Definitely recommended! We suggest strapping or tying down the freight as well. For furniture shippers, another great solution is to get some foam furniture pads to strap on your pieces on the pallet for protection. Sometimes, people place blankets in the surface of the items for cover purposes. Again, in almost any LTL shipment, the freight will be secured on to the skid or made forklift-ready with another handling unit before time of pickup. In FTL shipments, the shipper needs to be prepared to load and unload using a logistics strategy for such.

Now you have decided the appropriate method to ship. Your freight is secured and capable to be loaded. Choosing the right handling unit, packing the shipment appropriately, and selecting any necessary special services include the most integral stages of being prepared to ship. People need to be innovative about any packing materials they utilize to protect the commodity. It is advisable to keep safety of the cargo in mind also to allow proper time to prepare for shipping. Afterwards we will discuss comprehensive insurance options, but now, let's talk about what constitutes a special service.

c. Weighing and measuring the shipment

Receiving a precise weight measurement for the freight can often present difficulties as LTL carriers price shipments based on the weight as well as the freight class. You could be a shipping veteran scanning this article with an industrial weight scale your warehouse, so this can be a topic you are knowledgeable about, but residential shippers usually do not often have access to a scale, and that we have some tips on how to get an accurate weight measurement. Try choosing the details of any and all model numbers to your products online, plus a weight measurement may be found. In cases once you only have boxes to palletize, climb onto a scale and weigh yourself first. Then, get up on the scale with boxes and subtract one's body weight from the measurement, and you may target an accurate weight like that. Remember, the pallet create about 40 pounds to the shipment, and crates will add up to or even more than 50-60 pounds. For those who have your shipment prepared, it's time to bring out the tape-measure and obtain the length, width, and height (L x W x H).

d. Special services

The is shaped around a consistent model of business-to-business shipments. Anything else required is typically assessed in an accessorial surcharge. There are a number of accessorial types for example liftgates, residential service, inside pickups & deliveries, limited access entry, or appointment surcharges.

The optimum example of this is for people who require a method to load the items on or off of the truck will likely need to order a hydraulic liftgate, the industry steel mechanical platform on the back of a truck. In case a liftgate has been requested, your truck driver will come built with a pallet jack, another kind of heavy lifting device utilised by LTL carriers used to wheel the freight into the proper position for loading/unloading. If the shipment is light enough being lifted manually on to the truck or the shipper has a forklift or other hoisting device, customers can forego this excess cost.

Residential pickups and deliveries mean a mechanical appointment is scheduled to be sure the someone is present at time of service and usually mean that a liftgate truck is going to be required as well. Carriers will sometime send a reduced, 24-foot truck to accommodate the tighter turns related to residential streets; however, this isn't always the case. You may also have your freight ready with your garage (as long as there won't be huge hills for the driveway).

Another accessorial is classed as an inside pickup or delivery when the truck driver is motivated to enter inside a building for pickup or delivery if the freight is not prepared on the roadside or the loading dock.

Oftentimes, trucks are required to enter into limited access areas like storage facilities, schools, farms, churches, prisons, along with other places with gated entry. Being a visit to a construction site or trade show may be classified distinctly, it's still comparable in nature and costs nearly the same.

In the event the commodity needs to stay chilled as well as frozen, this may have to have a refrigerated truck (also referred to as "reefer") if you need to ship with multimodal shipping services, which lowers carrier availability and raises fuel and resource requirements. The application of dry ice for a pallet or two may help you circumvent excess costs of frozen shipping while still keeping your items chilled during transit.

Appointments for pickups and/or deliveries are contained in residential service fees, but you should have the means to determine if there will be a tiny extra cost from the carrier. Usually, a trip can be made to the consignee for delivery within Half an hour to an hour prior to truck arrival, but if you wish to hold it for appointment time, you will get a phone call and a precise time for pickup, instead of a 3-4 hour time window.

There are special regulations when shipping hazardous materials (HAZMAT). Any situation that is considered flammable gets a small HAZMAT charge, and documentation will probably be needed to determine the UN (United Nations) number. Any active batteries will also need to be disconnected ahead of pickup. Paint, fertilizer, glue and sealants, ammonia, or oil are typical examples of commodities which might be classified as HAZMAT.

Comprehensive insurance policies may be purchased to secure yourself against damages and losses. For first time items, the liability offered with a basic freight quote is set at $10/pound. For used or pre-owned items, that figure comes down to about $.10/pound. It is critical to ensure that you have included the value of the commodity. Remember, the freight must nevertheless 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 could require permits and, if applicable, police escorts for the driver. These are only using, special cases when the shipment is large 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 (under containerized load). Container ship freight in addition to air freight are rated by volume in cubic meters except to Hawaii as well as other major U.S. island freight lanes that are rated in cubic feet. Alaska is really a notable exception that freight is rated with the pound in the busy ocean barge lanes between Seattle-Tacoma harbors to Alaska's major port cities. Air cargo is generally used on products that should be expedited to prevent business loss because of delays in other modes of freight transportation and it is more expensive than shipping by boat; however, this still requires trading days transit times for both ends, unlike airline passenger traffic. Air cargo uses different volume-based measurements depending on the carrier but are basically calculated from cubic centimeters or inches.

When shipping internationally, the main added element to get understood is importation costs which can be assumed by the Importer of Record (usually consignee), but this could be a third party as well. Often the actual freight expenditure is less than the combined import costs of the destination charges paid by the consignee in local currency and customs, duties, and native sales tax in addition to a customs broker's expenses. Clearly, these larger set of details and costs are dependent on the country of import as well as the carrier. It's often required as well as advised to use a local customs broker when importing so that you can correctly assess total import costs with duties and taxes in addition to 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 probably be sent to the billed party to the quoted freight rate, and payment arrangements are made. Many people opt to charge a credit or debit card to pay for the freight, however if you ship frequently, other choices may be available. Then, the shipper will receive their shipping documentation.

The balance of Lading is the only document important to get the freight on a truck, although sometimes other documentation is essential, especially when dealing with border crossings. At time of pickup, you will need this document reproduced to hand to the driver. This document has every one of the itemized details for the shipment, including any freight classes, NMFC item numbers, item details and dimensions, addresses, and all sorts of rest of it. It is crucial to have the document in hand and to be prepared to load. After pickup has been made, all that is left is tracking and delivery.

Unfortunately, trucking information mill not moving companies, and frequently they will not hesitate to refuse a lot and drive off within their truck without the item(s) to become picked up aboard. This usually occurs when the shipper is unprepared to fulfill the truck for loading, contains the freight improperly packaged/palletized, or even the driver is made to delay or wait too long. Obviously, being properly prepared is a key priority to successful shipping.

V. Tracking and delivery

All right! So, your shipment has been picked up, and it's in route! People like to understand the latest status of these shipment, so that is why most carriers make it easy to find this information online. With most carriers, the shipment will be designated a PRO tracking number during the time of pickup and made obtainable in the carrier's billing system normally the day after pick-up & processing within the origin terminal. As soon as the number is made available, it's possible to view the tracking information about the carrier's website, you can also call the carrier and know the shipment with the PRO number. This is one way to decipher approximately if the actual delivery will need place. As delivery time methods for LTL shipments, keep in mind if you want to schedule an appointment as well as to get advanced notice discover regularly at the delivery location. Again, residential deliveries are held for about 1 day while an appointment is scheduled. The shipment has become completed as of the actual when the delivery receipt (Proof of Delivery) has been signed and released from the carrier to the consignee at delivery. Make sure you inspect and notate any visible damages to that document before signing for your freight.

VI. Conserving money

Freight costs may be intimidating and expensive; thus, conserving money takes top priority. First of all, residential shippers can save money if they're willing and able to visit the freight terminal to post or drop off their LTL shipment in a pickup truck or other suitable vehicle. For instance, since YRC Freight assesses $50 per residential entry and $50 per liftgate, the shipper saves $100 around the bill by going to the terminal; however, sometimes it's not a feasible means, along with the special services remain required because the customer cannot get the items at the terminal or there isn't one close enough to go to. Another way that shippers can help to save money on LTL shipments is actually the item is crated, the product will receive a better freight class and, therefore, a much more competitive rate. As an example, say someone was shipping an electric train engine and decided to input it in a crate, the freight class would drop from 85 to 70, along with the freight rate belly down a little bit. Another case if the freight class would drop happens when the item is disassembled (a settee taken apart or machinery disassembled). These kind of shipments are referred to as knocked down (KD) rather than 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 greater the freight class will be from the LTL carriers. For truckloads, shippers should be mindful that they need to anticipate to load within a couple of hours or quicker. Any extra time usually implies higher prices to create the carrier for that time spent waiting. Flatbed trucks be more expensive than standard vans, when you can find a way to load your shipment right into a van, you can save money; however, you may require the ability to load the shipment horizontally about the truck. On another note, refrigerated and frozen shipments have become 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 a bill will be adjusted. The following information is laid out in a way that should minimize the hassles of working with trucking companies and, therefore, the quantity of re-bills you will receive (if any).

Detention charges are assessed by carriers if the driver is forced to hold back more than about 90 minutes to make the pickup or dropoff. When detention expenditure is levied, this often reflects poor planning beforehand.

A dry run fee is usually assessed when the carrier visits a location for pickup or delivery, with out one is present. Again, it is imperative to be ready to load using the Bill of Lading at 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 based on its density.

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

VII. Conclusion

Though there are other scenarios that call for rate changes (port visits, trailer drops, etc.), the following information should educate the reader on good practices, steer clear of these situations, and so on what to expect from shipping carriers within the freight industry. As with other ventures in your life, shipping requires planning and adequate time for preparation. With experience, you'll become intimately accustomed to all the aspects of shipping and logistics. From pickup to delivery, the following information covers every single section of the process, though there is also subjects within the freight industry to elaborate on that could double the size this guide. When proper attention and planning is designed for shipping, customers will avoid excess upcharges and also the hassles of working together with trucking companies. Shipping can be expensive, so make sure you go find a broker who is able to set you on top of competitive freight rates. All the best and thanks for reading.

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