Shipping Equipment by Truck

By Bob Martin - General Manager - March 31, 2010

So, you've found the perfect package and now you need to get it to your shop. The most cost-effective method for shipping (in most cases) is to ship by trucking service.

One of the first things to realize is that shipping is outside of the control of all parties except, of course, the shipping company itself (and that includes a shipping broker, if you're using one). Shipping most equipment and accessories is typically done by LTL (Less Than Truckload) service.

With LTL services, the trucking company often offers discounted rates based on how much of their trailer is filled by your equipment and how far you're going with it. Shipping a trailer full of LTL product often involves a more convoluted route than the direct one, and also involves multiple stops and re-routes along the way as the trucker attempts to keep his trailer as full as possible for the longest distance possible. As a result, transit time estimates and even pickup dates cannot be accurately determined. LTL services are usually guaranteed only within a 30 day window from time of pickup. Many truckers, for the sake of the shipper and consignee, will offer estimates for transit times, and often they do arrive close to those estimates, however things can change very quickly before, during, or after pickup occurs.

It is possible to reduce the unknown by switching to a dedicated truckload or a courier-style shipping agency, however depending upon the size and weight of your product, such a service may not be cost effective. With a dedicated truck, you are basically hiring out the entire truck for the duration of the journey, and the trucker is hauling only your product in the most direct method possible. In those cases, more accurate estimates for transit and delivery times are available as many of the unknowns are eliminated from the equations.

The most important thing to remember is that delays with LTL shipments, while not inevitable, cannot be forecast in advance. The best thing to do is be sure to allocate sufficient transit time for the shipment and not schedule the equipment for use immediately at the estimated time of arrival. Delays can and will happen!

This commentary is presented for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a comprehensive or detailed statement on any subject and no representations or warranties, express or implied, are made as to its accuracy, timeliness or completeness. Nothing in this commentary is intended to provide financial, legal, accounting or tax advice nor should it be relied upon. Neither HDD Broker, Inc nor the author is liable whatsoever for any loss or damage caused by, or resulting from, any use of or any inaccuracies, errors or omissions in the information provided.

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